The Testosterone Files: My Hormonal and Social Transformation

Max Wolf Valerio, Author . Seal $15.95 (280p) ISBN 978-1-58005-173-6

The best thing about this aggressive, emotional memoir by a former lesbian, female-to-male transgender is that its author never elicits easy sentiment or empathy from the reader. This is, by intent and in delivery, a tough book. Born in 1957 in Germany, a part–Native American Army brat, Anita Valerio grew up to be a lesbian-feminist who, after seeing the boxing film Raging Bull at age 23, began to understand that she was really a man. Eleven years later, Valerio is injecting testosterone and well on his journey to manhood. Valerio writes directly and forcefully about his "primal" new male sexual desires, which feel like "an outburst of instinct," as opposed to life on estrogen, which felt like being submerged "in a sweet, dense fog." Valerio's maleness is often expressed in blunt, even offensive language, as at the end of the book, when he realizes, with irony but not sadness, that he has made a further advance into maleness when it becomes more difficult to communicate with women. Valerio's broad, dichotomized stands on politics and gender often feel like just another tough pose. Worse, they flatten out the memoir's emotional landscape. (June)

Reviewed on: 05/01/2006
Release date: 00/00/0000
Genre: Nonfiction
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