Sunday, October 22, 2017

Feedback Request

The author of the book most recently featured here would like feedback on this version:

Dear Agent,

Growing up, I dreamed of being a 50's-TV-style mom, just like Donna Reed and June Cleaver. Just like my own mother. So imagine my shock and dismay when, nearing puberty, I was placed in the boys' section at my school.

A brutal rape in college and a violent suicide of a second love interest put an end to fantasies about men that would never be. [I think you need to mention transgenderness before you jump ahead five years. Readers could interpret your being placed in the boys section as a clerical error. Possibly add to the first paragraph: It wasn't the school's fault; my birth certificate and my body both proclaimed I was male.] I discovered the love of another woman and her young child. Through the chaos of the marriage, I found joy in our three children becoming the mother I dreamed about as a child.

In 2009, after 28 years of marriage, I lost my 15-year-old son under allegations a transgender woman was unfit to be a mother. Despite the overwhelming consensus that no judge would ever grant me custody, I was unwilling to abandon him. Acting as my own attorney, I fought a four-year custody battle.

Isolation and the economic and emotional stress combined with threats from the court drove me into a near-suicidal depression but the love of my son prevailed. I regained custody while becoming the woman I had once imagined as a young girl [always known I was].

Whipping Girl took transgender women from the genre of Lesbian non-fiction into the realm of feminism. My book, The Transgender Myth, broadens that scope, challenging our perceptions of gender, invoking the complementary notion of gender put forth by The Feminine Mystiqueand asserting that men and women do in fact come from the same planet.

The book is not a story about transition. It is a journey from blissful innocence, through fear and isolation, past denial and defeat into acceptance and triumph, examining the best and the worst of living in both genders.

The Transgender Myth is complete at 93,000 words. I trust this story will appeal to your interest in LGBTQ narratives. Thanks for your time and consideration.


In my opinion, the third paragraph is the place to start. The first two paragraphs are backstory, fine in the book, but not so important in the query. You would have been fighting for custody whether you'd been placed in the boys section, raped, etc. or not.

Of course I'm assuming the majority of the book deals with the custody battle. It seems to be the aspect that sets your book apart from other memoirs of trans women.

If you start with paragraph 3 you have room to add, right after that paragraph ,a paragraph detailing the injustice of the system and the setbacks you had to overcome.

1 comment:

khazarkhum said...

I think the story of the custody battle is the heart of your work. Why not simply allude to the others while concentrating on what sounds like a fascinating journey through the courts? It becomes a story to inspire all, not just the transgender community. At the same time it brings the unique challenges of the transgender experience to the fore, which many people are curious about.