Wednesday, December 14, 2016

ARC Review: Balls: It Takes Some to Get Some by Chris Edwards

Balls: It Takes Some to Get Some
From the blurb:

Changing your gender from female to male takes balls. And if you’re going to do it in front of 500 coworkers at one of the top ad agencies in the country, you better have a pretty big set!

At a time when the term “transgender” didn’t really exist, and with support from family, friends, and a great therapist, Chris Edwards endured 28 surgeries to become the man he always knew he was meant to be. He used what he learned working in advertising along with his ever-present sense of humor to rebrand himself and orchestrate what was quite possibly the most widely accepted and embraced gender transition of its kind. He’s a pioneer who changed the perception of an entire community, and his memoir, BALLS, will touch readers’ hearts and open their minds.

​Edwards is funny, brazen, and endearing, and BALLS is the hilarious and moving story about family, friends, and the courage to be your true self. It boldly and fearlessly goes where other trans memoirs haven’t. If you’ve ever felt uncomfortable in your own skin, for whatever reason, you will be inspired and empowered by this book.

Heather's rating:

A trans-journey for the privileged 1%; light, pleasant, mildly informative, and entertaining.

I've read a number of fiction and non-fiction books about transgendered people, and I'm always interested in more. I'm finally at a place where I can say that I understand a lot about trans people, including how gender is separate from sexuality, how people who are trans are ALWAYS the gender that they feel inside, even if their bodies don't reflect that truth at first, and a fair amount about the effects of hormones and surgery and how personal the choice is to undergo top/bottom surgery or other plastic surgery. I'm very grateful that we live in a time where there are public trans figures (Caitlin Jenner and Jazz, to name a couple), and people are more and more educated on what it means to be transgender.

Chris Edwards grew up before ALL of that.

Immediately upon starting this book, I liked Chris Edwards. He is funny, charming, affable, and knows how to write. I've read a few amateur-author books, and Chris seemed like a seasoned pro. It made this book easy reading, which I enjoyed.

If you know a lot about trans men (or trans women), most of the information in this book will be already known to you. However, I always like reading about someone finally seeing someone in the mirror that they recognize after growing up in the wrong body for so long. I wholeheartedly cheered Chris on, and I enjoyed reading about his likeable friends, sweet, supportive family, and his relatable dating trials and tribulations. In truth, I liked a lot about this story.

This is also unlike any trans story that I've ever read, fictional or non-fiction. Never before have I read about such an easy trans journey. Now, take *easy* with a HUGE grain of salt. Chris was depressed and suicidal for a number of years before coming out as trans, and I don't think for a second that Chris had an effortless time of it. However, if a trans-journey can be called "ideal," then Chris's was ideal.

Chris led a very privileged life in a very liberal part of America. He worked for his father, who owned a large ad agency in Boston, and never had any doubts about job security with coming out. In fact, every single person in the company seemed to embrace him with open arms, even joking and assisting him during all of his surgeries. No one even had issues when he used the men's room while still sporting long hair, pre-testosterone.

In addition, every member of Chris's family supported him 100%, even his grandma and extended family. Literally no one had issues with his transition.

To top it off, Chris was completely supported financially by his family. Sure, Chris worked hard, but every surgery, including months of laser hair-removal, liposuction, top surgery, and the staggering $100,000+ phalloplasty surgery, was paid for by his parents. He was shuttled back and forth from fancy hotel suite to fancy hotel suite in a limo, each time accompanied by a member of his family. He flew at the drop of the hat all around the country to have consultation after consultation with plastic surgeons and specialists. There is no doubt that Chris had it relatively easy.

Look, I'm GLAD to have a happy trans story where things really work out and the person isn't disowned or forced to live on the streets or something horrible like that. I also don't begrudge Chris for having a great family and having money. That is AWESOME for him, honestly. However, it does give a very slanted view of what the journey is like for trans people, which isn't accurate for 99.9% of trans individuals. Those readers not familiar with how hard and painful it truly is for many trans people may not fully appreciate those realities. Many trans men would probably love a "deluxe model" phalloplasty with a penis that is both large, realistic, and functional and be able to point to one in a lineup of penises and say "that one," but most trans men won't be able to have that experience, which Chris said made him finally feel whole.

I think that this is a good story that will offer a different point of view on the trans journey than what is already out there, and I had a great time reading it. I applaud Chris for sharing his story with us, and for showing readers a lighter, more uplifting type of memoir.

*Copy provided in exchange for an honest review*
Buy this book: Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble

Catch ya later!

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