At the Broken Places

At the Broken Places

A Mother and Trans Son Pick up the Pieces

Book - 2017
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Random House, Inc.
In this collaborative memoir, a parent and a transgender son recount wrestling with their differences as Donald Collins undertook medical-treatment options to better align his body with his gender identity.

As a parent, Mary Collins didn’t agree with her trans son’s decision to physically alter his body, although she supported his right to realize himself as a person. Raw and uncensored, each explains her or his emotional mindset at the time: Mary felt she had lost a daughter; Donald activated his “authentic self.” Both battled to assert their rights. A powerful memoir and resource, At the Broken Places offers a road map for families in transition.

Publisher: Boston, Massachusetts : Beacon Press, [2017]
ISBN: 0807088358 paperback ; alkaline paper
9780807088357 paperback ; alkaline paper
Branch Call Number: 306.768083 COL
Characteristics: xi, 194 pages ; 22 cm
Additional Contributors: Collins, Donald 1994-- Author

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Liber_vermis
Feb 16, 2018

At times tough to read but honest and informative. Boxes at the start of chapters provide definitions of many trans-related terms but the book would have benefited from a glossary of trans and medical words, and acronyms. At the end, Donald provides a very good three page reading list. There are endnotes providing sources on each thematic chapter but they are not linked to the text.

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Liber_vermis
Feb 16, 2018

As both contributors are professional writers, this joint-memoir is very readable, organized, and informative. It is unsentimental and honest, as Donald remarks toward the end of the book, "... insofar as my re-connection with my mother goes, I don't think it would be fair to say 'We did it; so can you!' That's not what this book is about. A fairer summary would go something like, 'We barely did it; here's what we learned.'" (p. 148-9) The memoir is organized by themes with mother and son penning independent chapters under each theme. The final 50 pages provide edited transcripts of conversations with other parents of trans kids and trans people to offer different experiences and perspectives.

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Liber_vermis
Feb 16, 2018

Mary Collins: "It was as though in a matter of days [after Donald's grand-mother was told he was trans] she had held a 'funeral' for on grandchild and then crafted a new memory book for a different grandchild. ... My ninety-year old mother was the first to bring Donald to buy clothes in the men's department. [She] was the first to tell me to my face without flinching that J. [Donald's female birth given name initial] was never coming back and Donald was here to stay and I must accept it." (p. 82)

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