cover image This One Looks Like a Boy: My Gender Journey to Life as a Man

This One Looks Like a Boy: My Gender Journey to Life as a Man

Lorimer Shenher. Greystone, $26.95 (288p) ISBN 978-1-77164-448-8

Shenher (That Lonely Section of Hell), a former Vancouver Police Department detective, relays the journey that led to his decision in his 50s to transition from female to male. For as long as he can remember, Shenher writes, he knew he was born in the wrong body. For much of his adult life, he painfully resisted doing anything about it, an experience his therapist likened to “sitting on a pin.” The story follows him from his early childhood in Calgary through various milestones of womanhood (developing breasts, having a first sexual experience with a boy, coming out as a lesbian, giving birth to the second of his three children) that Shenher found traumatic. Other narrative threads follow his lifelong love of basketball, the circuitous evolution of his working life leading to the VPD and his first book (about serial killer Robert Pickton), and his relationship with his father. Dialogue is used in some banal moments, such as buying a hamburger, but big moments—coming out as transgender for the first time, or telling his wife he’s finally decided to transition—are summarized rather than given fully realized scenes. Shenher’s play-by-play style works best when he seriously decides to investigate transitioning; the process of gender affirmation is laid out clearly and succinctly. This is a straightforward account of one person’s experience, not a complex exploration of broader phenomena, but it has insight to offer readers, especially ones traveling a similar path. [em](Mar.) [/em]