She’s Not There is having a birthday in 2013! The new, expanded, tenth anniversary edition of SNoT has been published by Random House complete with a new preface, and two new afterwords– one by me, bringing my family’s story up to date, and another by my wife Deirdre. You can read the new preface by clicking right here.
She’s Not There: A Life in Two Genders is my most widely-read book. The original flap copy to the 2003 hardcover read: She’s Not There is the story of a person changing genders, the story of a person bearing and finally revealing a complex secret; above all, it is a love story.
By turns funny and deeply noving, Jennifer Finney Boylan explores the remarkable territory that lies between men and women, examines changing friendships, and rejoices in the redeeming power of family. She’s Not There is a portrait of a loving marriage – the love of James for his wife, Grace, and against all odds, the enduring love of Grace for the woman who becomes her “sister,” Jenny.
As James evolves into Jennifer in scenes that are by turns tender, startling, and witty, a marvelously human perspective emerges on issues of love, sex, and the fascinating relationship between our physical and our intuitive selves. Through the clear eyes of a truly remarkable woman, She’s Not There provides a new window on the often confounding process of accepting ourselves.
Here are a few additional resources in connection with this title:
A speech to the National Press Club “I want to wake up.” Delivered on May 27, 2007.
She’s Not There: an excerpt. This is the second chapter of the book, presented here in its entirety.
It’s worth noting that what was true for me in She’s Not There may or may not turn out to be true for others, as they, or people they love, wrestle with gender. My own story is the result of my own unique life, and I can only urge people to try to find their own truths. This is best done by talking to– and listening to– the people you love, and also through the slow and careful process offered by good therapy. As much as I would like to help everyone who turns to me for support, in the wake of She’s Not There, it’s probably worth reminding people that I am only an English teacher, and outside of the gift of the stories I can tell, I may not have much in the way of wisdom to share, other than urging other people to tell their own stories. All I can say is to try to find your courage, to live your truth, and if you can, share what is in your heart with the people that you love.
“Probably no book I’ve read in recent years has made me so question my basic assumptions about both the centrality and the permeability of gender, and made me recognize myself in a situation I’ve never known and have never faced… The universality of the astonishingly uncoomon; that’s the trick of She’s Not There. And with laughs, too. What a good book… A very funny memoir of growing up confused and a very smart consideration of what it means to be a woman.” — Anna Quindlen
“Beautifully crafted, fearless, painfully honest, inspiring, and extremely witty, Jennifer Finney Boylan is an exquisite writer with a fascinating story, and this combination has resulted in one of the most remarkable, moving, and unforgettable memoirs in recent history.” — Augusten Burroughs, author of Running with Scissors.
“She’s Not There, the Running with Scissors of sex-change stories, brings irreverence and a merrily outrageous sense of humor to this potentially serious business.” – Janet Maslin, New York Times.