cover image Believe Me: A Memoir of Love, Death, and Jazz Chickens

Believe Me: A Memoir of Love, Death, and Jazz Chickens

Eddie Izzard, with Laura Zigman. Blue Rider, $28 (280p) ISBN 978-0-399-17583-1

Beloved comedian, actor, and writer Izzard, known partly for being an “out” transvestite who sometimes wears dresses, heels, and lipstick on stage, shares intimate details about his life and is emotionally transparent throughout this splendid memoir. Born in Yemen to English parents, Izzard moved with his family back to the U.K. when he was young. There he had a happy childhood until his beloved mother died of cancer when he was six. This trauma, Izzard explains, pushed him, with the magical thinking that it would somehow bring his mother back, relentlessly toward a successful career in show business. He writes about coming to terms with his gender identity and recognizing that he was transgender at a young age, but told no one for nearly two decades. As his star began to rise, Izzard grew confident enough to dress as a woman on stage. Whether recounting his boarding-school shenanigans, his struggles with dyslexia, or his work with Sports Relief U.K. over the years (including last year when he ran 27 marathons in 27 days), the book is both funny and painful, and ultimately uplifting. (June)