Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Your Winter Reading Assignment: "Nina Here Nor There"

Nick Krieger's memoir, "Nina Here Nor There" has been following me around for the past few days. I've been reading it in bed, taking it down with me to breakfast, and cuddling up with it in armchairs. The only bad thing about "Nina Here Nor There" is that it's just 200 pages and I finished it too soon.

Nick writes with frankness and humility about his process of transitioning from a lesbian female to a genderqueer guy. You are with him each step of the way: getting his mind blown by the many different expressions of gender and sex he is exposed to in San Francisco; having intense conversations with his roommate about identity, sexuality and double mastectomies; seeing the limitations of his mainstream lesbian friends' ability to understand his desire to be genderqueer; negotiating a romantic relationship while negotiating what he wants his body to feel and look like; and cutting off communication with his dad when he's not able to be completely supportive of Nick's desire to transition. Nick generously puts it all out there, and you end up feeling like a part of his transitioning process yourself. When I finished the book, I missed hearing Nick's voice.

For those who have never read a trans memoir before, this is a great place to start because Nick doesn't assume you know anything about transitioning, genderqueerness and whatnot...just as he knew little about these concepts when he began considering his own gender identity in his mid-20s. And he explains them really well through dialogue and real-life examples. For those who have read trans memoirs before, Nick's story is refreshing because he doesn't abide by the "heterosexual man trapped in a woman's body" narrative that we're so used to hearing in the news. It's more nuanced and because of that feels so much more real and personal.

Nick was recently doing an east coast college book tour, and we were able to get him to come do a reading and Q&A session at Harvard. He read three excerpts with enthusiasm and warmth and then welcomed any and all questions about his book and transitioning process. If you see that Nick is doing a reading near you, check it out (he's at the SF Library on Feb. 7). And if there's not one near you, curling up with "Nina Here Nor There" is a good consolation prize. And then together we'll wait eagerly for his next book.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the book recommendation and hot tip on the SF tour date! Would have been a great book to take on vacation. Alas, I can't wait to get my hands on it and will find a way to make time to read it now that I'm back to my regularly scheduled life. Hope your holidays were great!