Monday, July 10, 2017

Retro Review: Straight Expectations by Peggy Cryden


Ever since they were young, Peggy Cryden noticed her children's gender expression did not correspond with society's expectations of their biological gender. In this moving and honest memoir, Peggy details the experiences and challenges of raising both a gay son and a gay, transgender son and shares her family's journey of adversity and growth, which has helped inform her work as a psychotherapist.

Beginning with her own unconventional upbringing and personal relationships, the second half of the book follows her children from birth to adulthood and through their numerous experiences including coming out, depression, hate crime, relationships, school and various aspects to do with transitioning (legal, physical, medical, social) as well as their appearances in the media as a family. This book is insightful, charming and thought-provoking, and through levity and humour, offers a positive approach to parenting outside of convention.

4 Stars

This is a poignant, educational and informative memoir of a mother dealing with the transition of her FTM transgender child, and the effects it has on the family. Peggy, who was adopted and raised by a mentally ill mother and a father who was emotionally unavailable, starts her story in her early childhood and takes us through her childhood and into becoming a wife and later a mother herself. Peggy works hard to make sure she is the wife and mother her mother never was.

She later takes us through the struggles faced by her daughter Julia, as she comes to terms with feeling like she's truly a boy on the inside. We are shown what not only Jake (Julia) faces as he becomes a young man and leaves Julia behind, but the effects it has on Peggy, her husband and Jake's younger brother, Jay. It's not an easy transition and they hit plenty of bumps in the road, but we see how these bumps can be made bearable with the support of understanding family and friends.

This memoir was well-written and interesting. It's educational without being filled with statistics and definitely recommendable to anyone trying to come to terms with or just understand more about a transgender family member or friend or just what it means to be transgender period.

*copy provided by author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

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