For Today I Am A Boy

For Today I Am A Boy

Book - 2014
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Peter Huang and his sisters--elegant Adele, shrewd Helen, and Bonnie the bon vivant--grow up in a house of many secrets, then escape the confines of small-town Ontario and spread from Montreal to California to Berlin. Peter’s own journey is obstructed by playground bullies, masochistic lovers, Christian ex-gays, and the ever-present shadow of his Chinese father. At birth, Peter had been given the Chinese name Juan Chaun, powerful king. The exalted only son in the middle of three daughters, Peter was the one who would finally embody his immigrant father's ideal of power and masculinity. But Peter has different dreams: he is certain he is a girl. Sensitive, witty, and stunningly assured, Kim Fu’s debut novel lays bare the costs of forsaking one’s own path in deference to one laid out by others. For Today I Am a Boy is a coming-of-age tale like no other, and marks the emergence of an astonishing new literary voice.
Publisher: New York : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014.
ISBN: 9780544034723
0544034724
Call Number: FU
Characteristics: xiii, 242 p. ; 22 cm.
Subjects: Bildungsromans.
Psychological fiction.
Gender identity -- Fiction.
Fathers and sons -- Fiction.
Brothers and sisters -- Fiction.

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multcolib_susannel Mar 28, 2017

As the only boy in the family, Peter's Chinese name means 'king', but he feels more like a 'princess'.

h
Harebell
Nov 26, 2016

This book hits a lot of negative stereotypes, cliches and tropes prevalent in trans narratives written by cis authors. I recommend reading this article, written by trans author Casey Plett, that touches on "For Today I Am A Boy," as well as several other novels about trans characters written by cis people, and the harmful tropes and stereotypes they propagate:

https://thewalrus.ca/rise-of-the-gender-novel/

I'm posting this for the sake of other prospective trans readers. While I liked the prose and the narrative around family, immigration and assimilation, I can't get over how poorly the trans narrative thread was handled.

c
csrestall
Aug 26, 2016

I enjoyed this book quite a lot actually which kind of surprised me. I am not usually into realistic fiction, however this was such a unique Canadian perspective that I was quite hooked to how the story would turn out. The only thing that I wish was different was the ending, 'Peter' leaves to join his sisters and becomes 'Audrey' however nothing more about her life is discussed after this point. It would have been nice to see her full transformation and to finally be happy.

LPL_KateG Feb 16, 2016

I want to say I "enjoyed" this book, but it seems like an odd response to something that was often deeply emotional and filled with loneliness. (Not that there weren't some amusing parts mixed in!) Peter, as he identifies throughout the book, feels like a woman born into a male body, but doesn't know what to do about it. I was captivated by Peter's journey and the Huang family's interactions.

MariePat Feb 11, 2015

A very moving story about the only boy born into a traditional Chinese-Canadian family. Explores his identity crisis and how he manages in the world. Simply written but very moving.
Highly recommend.

2
2kool4skool
Dec 22, 2014

A really fantastic read. It can get quite depressing and uncomfortable in some places, but if you aren't one to be bothered by books that aren't all happy all the time, this book is certainly recommended. It may also help you get a better understanding on what being transgender is.

ValleyViewLibrarians Jun 05, 2014

The emotional toll of growing up transgender is just one heavy issue Fu manages to effectively explore in the scant 230 pages of this engrossing title. Self-denial and self-delusion figure prominently in the lives of both Peter and his father and the family falls apart due to the gaping chasm between parents and children, Chinese and Western culture, sex and gender. Fu doesn't sugarcoat Peter's journey; most of the book feels as bleak, jagged and raw as the frigid Canadian winters Peter endures year after year. Fu does a commendable job at creating so many fully realized characters in this book and, while Peter is certainly a character to be pitied at times, he never becomes pathetic.

b
BUNBUN1978
May 25, 2014

I really enjoyed this book. I like how we really go to know Peter and his struggle to find the real her. It only part i could complain about was that it dragged it some spots. Also i kept getting which sister was which confused. I like how this book was different than most of the other fictional books i have read about Transgender characters. I don't think i have disliked a father character as much as i disliked the one in this book.What a jerk.

ChristchurchLib Feb 19, 2014

"Peter, the only boy among four siblings born to first-generation Chinese Americans, is convinced he's a girl and must fight the confines of a small town as well as the expectations of his immigrant parents to forge his own path into adulthood." Fiction A to Z February 2014 newsletter http://www.libraryaware.com/996/NewsletterIssues/ViewIssue/5fdf91da-47ce-498a-9809-d124d568f696?postId=8c92a5c1-369b-4131-85d1-534a1bd46a6b

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c
csrestall
Aug 26, 2016

csrestall thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

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violet_duck_208
Mar 24, 2016

violet_duck_208 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Notices

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c
csrestall
Aug 26, 2016

Sexual Content: This book contains sexual scenes and metaphors relating to transsexualism and homosexuality.

2
2kool4skool
Jul 11, 2015

Sexual Content: While this book is fantastic, it should be noted that there are some fairly disturbing scenes, too.

Summary

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c
csrestall
Aug 26, 2016

This book discusses the childhood and adult life of 'Peter' a Canadian born into a traditionalist Chinese family. The father had always wanted a traditional masculine son, however his wife was giving birth to daughters. When he finally had a son, his son's only desire was to be a woman/mother. The rest of the book details the adult life of 'Peter' which is filled with struggle to come to terms with his identity. He has a number of different sexual encounters with women, all the while wishing to be a woman and to be sexually treated as a woman as well. He finally comes to terms with his female identity after becoming friends with a Female to Male trans. He then leaves with his sisters to Europe to start a new life as Audrey. Which was inspired by spending a night dressed as Audrey Hepburn for Halloween.

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