31 Mar / Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters [in Booklist]
As the anointed February 2021 title of literary überstar Roxane Gay’s “Audacious Book Club,” Peters’ debut novel is surely facing demand in multiple formats. Renata Friedman, with just over a dozen solo credits, immediately embodies the provocative narrative, effortlessly adapting her flexible voice to a spectrum of characters – the majority of whom are each defining, questioning, and exploring femininity.
Reese is a trans woman who is continually involved with abusive married men. When her ex-lover calls about a potential baby, Reese cautiously thinks her lifelong dream of motherhood might be possible. Ames and his boss/girlfriend Katrina are pregnant. Ames lived for a time as a trans woman, before he detransitioned to the gender he was assigned at birth.
Although he presents as a man, he struggles to identify as a father. Only Reese understands that distinction, which is why Ames needs her to co-parent. Meanwhile, Katrina hasn’t quite dismissed her failed marriage and previous miscarriage, and she’s ready to abort without a committed partner.
The concept of family is getting a most untraditional makeover. Torrey Peters, who is trans, crafts an unsettling, complicated story; Friedman never misses a beat.