F2M: The Boy Within
Hazel Edwards and Ryan Kennedy, Ford Street
Skye is a young woman who believes that inside she is really a man and begins the transition process from being a female to a male, hence the title. This is an unusual topic for a novel: in fact I can’t remember reading a single book where this is addressed.
The transitioning process is explained informatively and quite tactfully. My initial thought on flicking through the book was that it was going to be crude and blatant, but this book is almost discrete.
Skye, who becomes Finn, consults the internet, a counsellor and doctors to help her make the transition. She has to break the news to friends and family, who overall take it in their stride and are quite supportive.
The main emotion expressed by the characters is a discomfort with the situation. I have a quibble with the authors here. Sexuality can be an emotional mine field and I thought the lack of grief over Skye’s decision would have been unlikely. It makes the parents seem a little one-dimensional.
One of the most interesting characters in the book is the shadowy Uncle Al. Uncle Al was a great uncle who was born hermaphrodite and raised as a girl. Although he is long dead by the time Skye is making her transition to Finn, his experiences of life told by his sister encourage Skye to be appreciative of the support and treatments available to her.
This book is aimed at a young adult market. The authors, family friends who now live in different countries, co-wrote the book online and via Skype webcam. Ryan Kennedy lived as a female until his transition when he was 27.