REVIEW: If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo
This is an important book. It's about a trans girl, written by a trans author, with a trans cover girl and the audiobook narrated by a trans woman as well. #ownvoices all over, and I love it. To not break the circle here, since I am a cis reviewer, I would encourage you to read this post from a trans reviewer as well (it's also just a really good review, double win).
Honestly, I mean it, go read the thing from the trans reviewer, she talks about it in a way I never could, and about a whole lot of important stuff.
I'm really f-ing glad this book exists. I'm happy I read it, happy I could learn more through it, happy more people will be able to see themselves. I'm happy the ending was positive and optimistic for the future but that not every little thing was resolved and some parts were left open. Some of the topics or chapters were heavy, and I can't imagine how life is for those of you who go through that in real life. But the book was not a dark book, even though it may sound like that. The ending was positive, it's also affirming, and did a good job of staying on the intersection between too hard and too easy (in my opinion, of course).
I loved the portrayal of Amanda's relationship with herself, her parents and her faith. I would have liked it if the latter was a bit more prominent, but I also liked the somewhat open ending there, with not all the answers, which is often how life is.
"(...) it was hard to place too much hope in a God so many people said hated me."
The switch between the past and the present was great, heartbreaking and gave a lot of insight.
Russo wrote a note at the end of the book, which really is required reading. There's a different one for cis and trans readers, and both are important. To have as little barriers as possible, she took some liberties with some aspects of the portrayal, like that Amanda's family was able to afford the operations. She did that because of us, cis people, to reach as much of us as possible. To make it easy to us. I hate that it's necessary for some people that some of the 'issues' are removed, but I do think the book reaches more people like that. And I hope that the note at the end will make people think and examine their prejudices and ideas, that maybe next time it doesn't have to be like that.
It's heartbreaking, hard-hitting and emotional. It's really important. Please read it.
TW: transphobia, homophobia, assault, (attempted) rape, suicide attempt