Aaron Raz Link was born a girl, named Sarah, and loved as a daughter. Twenty-nine years later, after inner turmoil, deep thought and relentless examination of how society views gender, Sarah became Aaron, a gay man. This starkly open and moving book describes, in Aaron's words and then in his mother's words, both the costs and the rewards of this journey.

The book is divided into two sections: the longer, beginning section is Aaron's, an intense rendering of what might be called an inner dialogue: Aaron talking to himself about his place in a gendered world; Aaron talking to society about the role of men and women; and Aaron talking to us, the readers, as if we were his close friends, gathered around him as he revealed his life.

The second section belongs to his mother, Hilda Raz. In musing, episodic scenes, she writes about herself as Sarah and then Aaron's mother, about her own work as a poet and editor, and most poignantly about losing her breast to cancer.

On page 86 Aaron says, "A stereotype is a kind of camouflage; the eye finds what it expects to find, and passes over details." Throughout this book we are asked to look at, directly but never sensationally, our bodies' organs, our gender "details," not only as functional anatomy but as symbols of identification.

In both sections, I felt pulled along on this journey, both as someone invited and as someone looking on, an emotional voyeur, and in both sections I observed the unflinching honesty of the authors' revelations. But it in was this final section, the mother's story, that I felt most keenly the love between the two authors. It is this love that becomes the strength of the narrative, the ground on which this incredible story unfolds.


"Sarah was fine. I loved her and felt lucky to have such an interesting kid. We had a good time together. Only she was Aaron and I didn't know it. I can't think of anything more important that I've failed to notice" (Raz, pg. 278).

This ground-breaking narrative is all about noticing, about how we learn to match the internal to the external and, most of all, about the nature of gender-based life and love. This text is not a typical transgender story. It investigates, especially in Aaron's section, our deeply held conceptions about what is male and female but it also ranges widely, into work, science, medicine, literature, love, family, friendship, the academy, and the street.

This book should have wide appeal, both to those in the medical and social sciences and to anyone who has pondered what it means to be called a man, or called a woman.



University of Nebraska Press

Place Published

Lincoln, Nebraska



Page Count