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New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Finney Boylan returns with a remarkable memoir about gender and parenting that discusses how families are shaped and the difficulties and wonders of being human.
 
A father for six years, a mother for ten, and for a time in between, neither, or both, Jennifer Finney Boylan has seen parenthood from both sides of the gender divide. When her two children were young, Boylan came out as transgender, and as Jenny transitioned from a man to a woman and from a father to a mother, her family faced unique challenges and questions. In this thoughtful, tear-jerking, hilarious memoir, Jenny asks what it means to be a father, or a mother, and to what extent gender shades our experiences as parents. 

Through both her own story and incredibly insightful interviews with others, including Richard Russo, Edward Albee, Ann Beattie, Augusten Burroughs, Susan Minot, Trey Ellis, Timothy Kreider, and more, Jenny examines relationships between fathers, mothers, and children; people's memories of the children they were and the parents they became; and the many different ways a family can be. With an Afterword by Anna Quindlen, Stuck in the Middle with You is a brilliant meditation on raising—and on beinga child.

Now with Extra Libris material, including a reader’s guide and bonus content

Published: Crown Publishing Group an imprint of Random House Publishing Group on Apr 30, 2013
ISBN: 9780307952844
List price: $9.99
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I suppose a large issue I had with this book was the format: it's several "chunks" of Jennifer Finney Boylan's own experiences (before, during, and after transition) broken up by sections of interviews. This gave the book a somewhat disjointed feel. Additionally, the interviews, while interesting and (in some cases more than others-- it is interesting to note that only one of the interviews is with a transgender parent) containing insights into the role of parenting and what "mother" and "father" connote, still felt somewhat like padding-- extra material added to supplant the real heart of the memoir, Boylan's story. This having been billed as (see subtitle) "A Memoir of Parenting in Three Genders," I was really expecting more of Boylan's own, personal story about her relationship with her sons, but the book often felt curiously distanced from her everyday life (much more so than her previous memoir, She's Not There, which did not have that distance at all). I agree with Boylan's own remarks (made in the course of the narrative) that it is not necessary to retell the story told in She's Not There, and to refer to that memoir if that's what you're interested in, but I do feel like that if she had something substantial to say about parenting, she didn't quite get the job done. It's never entirely clear how her being a transgender parent has impacted her sons' lives (there's really just a "they got along okay" basic summation to every story, which isn't particularly analytical or detailed). There is an interview-- brief-- with her spouse/partner (each prefers different terminology), which is enlightening, but we do not hear from her sons in any direct way except through ancedocte. Overall, I was expecting something more in-depth and analytical, more detailed. Nonetheless, Boylan is extremely readable, with a wry humor that never fails to entertain. She is a good interviewer; though the interviews are short, they are not repetitive. I suppose I'm mainly disappointed because I expected more from her.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Stuck in the Middle With You feels less like a coherent memoir than a series of vignettes by Boylan musing on the experience of parenting as a father, mother, and through her transition, interspersed with conversations Boylan conducted with friends about their experiences as fathers, mothers, sons, daughters. The stories are related with tenderness and the rawness of still-in-process thoughts and feelings. I found myself waiting for a level of big-picture reflection that never really came along. It was unclear whether Boylan's object was more narrowly her own experience as a parent (the personal essay sections felt very caught up in the particulars of the Boylan family), or broader questions about fatherhood, motherhood, and relationships between parents and children -- themes which the interview sections seem to gesture toward without ever clearly articulating.I did appreciate the diversity of voices represented in the interviews, and actually would have enjoyed more of these, or an expanded volume perhaps more focused on these parenting stories. A warning to readers: one interview deals with the story of a stillbirth that is treated with incredible thoughtfulness, but which I found difficult to read -- even as someone who has not experienced childbirth or loss of a child. Be aware of this story (it's clear in the introductory paragraph) and skip if you don't feel able to read it.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I enjoyed reading this book because of the author's engaging voice, and the interesting questions raised, though I don't always agree with her ideas. Family is an interesting construction, always changing in the face of new circumstances.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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Reviews

I suppose a large issue I had with this book was the format: it's several "chunks" of Jennifer Finney Boylan's own experiences (before, during, and after transition) broken up by sections of interviews. This gave the book a somewhat disjointed feel. Additionally, the interviews, while interesting and (in some cases more than others-- it is interesting to note that only one of the interviews is with a transgender parent) containing insights into the role of parenting and what "mother" and "father" connote, still felt somewhat like padding-- extra material added to supplant the real heart of the memoir, Boylan's story. This having been billed as (see subtitle) "A Memoir of Parenting in Three Genders," I was really expecting more of Boylan's own, personal story about her relationship with her sons, but the book often felt curiously distanced from her everyday life (much more so than her previous memoir, She's Not There, which did not have that distance at all). I agree with Boylan's own remarks (made in the course of the narrative) that it is not necessary to retell the story told in She's Not There, and to refer to that memoir if that's what you're interested in, but I do feel like that if she had something substantial to say about parenting, she didn't quite get the job done. It's never entirely clear how her being a transgender parent has impacted her sons' lives (there's really just a "they got along okay" basic summation to every story, which isn't particularly analytical or detailed). There is an interview-- brief-- with her spouse/partner (each prefers different terminology), which is enlightening, but we do not hear from her sons in any direct way except through ancedocte. Overall, I was expecting something more in-depth and analytical, more detailed. Nonetheless, Boylan is extremely readable, with a wry humor that never fails to entertain. She is a good interviewer; though the interviews are short, they are not repetitive. I suppose I'm mainly disappointed because I expected more from her.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Stuck in the Middle With You feels less like a coherent memoir than a series of vignettes by Boylan musing on the experience of parenting as a father, mother, and through her transition, interspersed with conversations Boylan conducted with friends about their experiences as fathers, mothers, sons, daughters. The stories are related with tenderness and the rawness of still-in-process thoughts and feelings. I found myself waiting for a level of big-picture reflection that never really came along. It was unclear whether Boylan's object was more narrowly her own experience as a parent (the personal essay sections felt very caught up in the particulars of the Boylan family), or broader questions about fatherhood, motherhood, and relationships between parents and children -- themes which the interview sections seem to gesture toward without ever clearly articulating.I did appreciate the diversity of voices represented in the interviews, and actually would have enjoyed more of these, or an expanded volume perhaps more focused on these parenting stories. A warning to readers: one interview deals with the story of a stillbirth that is treated with incredible thoughtfulness, but which I found difficult to read -- even as someone who has not experienced childbirth or loss of a child. Be aware of this story (it's clear in the introductory paragraph) and skip if you don't feel able to read it.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I enjoyed reading this book because of the author's engaging voice, and the interesting questions raised, though I don't always agree with her ideas. Family is an interesting construction, always changing in the face of new circumstances.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I wasn't sure what to expect from this - perhaps some sort of post-modern, trendy parenting journal. I was pleasantly surprised by how warm and engaging Boylan was and how she told her story with candor, humor, and sincerity. Although the author is coming from a unique point of view it is not just a niche story - there is much that a parent in the much more traditional family can relate to. A surprisingly fascinating read.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
When I read the blurb from Librarything Early Reviewers, I expected a book on being a transgender parent like I am as we have our own unique challenges. I am a female to male transsexual who is a parent and it is very difficult to raise a child when one is transgender. The book has a mixture of Jenny's own stories as well as interviews from other parents, most of which are very out of place. Of the interviews, only one was from another transsexual! I am not sure what Jenny was thinking when she added the interviews, I think they would have been better if they were in a separate book or perhaps even, if they had to be published, published in a journal article as they really did not add to any part of the book as they feel like "fluff."Jenny's other book "She's not there" was a much better book not only about being transgender but also being a parent.
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I enjoyed this book very much. I've been trying to learn more and think more about trans-sexuality, and this certainly did some of that. But I found myself more intrigued by the discussions about parenting. The interviews were fascinating. I probably could've read 200 more pages of them. I'm so glad to have discovered Boylan's writings and I look forward to going back and exploring more of her catalog!
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