Confessions of a Teenage Hermaphrodite by Lianne Simon (review copy) - Jamie was born with a testis, an ovary, and a pixie face. He can be a boy after minor surgery and a few years on testosterone. Well, that’s what his parents always say, but he sees an elfin princess in the mirror. To become the man his parents expect, Jamie must leave behind a little girl’s hopes and dreams. At sixteen, the four-foot-eleven soprano goes from home school to a boys’ dorm at college. The elfin princess can live in the books Jameson reads and nobody has to find out he isn’t like other boys. When a medical student tells Jamie that he should have been raised female, Jamie sets out on a perilous journey to adulthood. The elfin princess can thrive, but will she risk losing her family and her education for a boy who may desert her, or a toddler she may never be allowed to adopt? From Amazon UK
Having to write this "review" makes me feel a little disappointed in myself as I normally finish all books I read, but I just couldn't carry on with this one, unfortunately.
I was sent this book quite a while ago to review. I don't normally accept review copies from self-published authors, but Confessions of a Teenage Hermaphrodite sounded really intriguing. When I decided to hold LGBTQ YA Month, I knew I had to review it for the Month. However, I didn't finish it.
I normally give my own summary of what a book is about, but as I didn't finish this book, I don't think I'd give a fair summary. Even before starting to read this book, I had a problem with it. It is generally considered politically incorrect to use the word "hermaphrodite", that intersex is the acceptable term. Not only is this word used in the title of the book, but also in the book, and it made me feel really uneasy every time I read it.
I wasn't a big fan of Jamie. She has been brought up as a boy, Jameson - called Jamie by most - but when she was a child, she loved dressing up as an elfin princess and wearing her sister's clothes. Despite the fact she's now 16, she refers to the act she puts on, playing a boy, as Jameson, but her female side as "the little princess", because of when she was younger. It made sense for a while the first few times, but she continues to do it, referring to herself in the third person; "the little princess did XYZ", "the little princess thought ABC", "his little princess said 123". It really grated on my nerves. Jamie is 16, not 12, and her intelligence got into college early, so referring to herself as "the little princess" just doesn't seem believable. It's also incredibly annoying.
Confessions is also a Christian story, but it feels quite heavy, in that I felt like I was being preached to. I don't mind reading books with religious characters, and for LGBTQ YA Month I even like it as I get the religious views in general and of the specific characters on LGBTQ people. However, I'm an atheist, and I don't like feeling like a book is trying to force the author's religious views on me. It actually makes me angry, like my beliefs - or my lack of belief - don't come into account at all, like they don't matter.
So Confessions annoyed me and wound me up. It just got worse the more I read, so I decided to stop, before making it halfway through. Check out a few other reviews before deciding not to read it based on my review alone.
Thank you to Lianne Simon for the review copy.
Published: 18th September 2012
Publisher: Faie Miss
Buy on Amazon US
Lianne Simon's Website