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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Transgender Protagonist Leads Readers to Better Understanding

TITLE: She's My Dad
AUTHOR: Iolanthe Woulff
GENRE: Fiction: Social Suspense/Contemporary/LGBT
ISBN: 9781432744052 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 9781432743772 (Trade Paperback)
PUBLISHER: Outskirts Press (November 13, 2009)

Reviewed by Erin N. for Luxury Reading

REVIEWER RATING: SHE'S MY DAD has been included in Vera's "Year's Best Books" list:

In today’s society, absolutely no one is immune to the forces of hate in the world. Terrorist attacks, hate groups, and xenophobic neighborhoods, towns, and even nations are all appalling reminders that citizens of the world live daily with fear. But, how often is the hate within ever addressed? Due to blind prejudice, it doesn’t take much for an average working American, or even a well respected financial baron, to build a bomb and “set it off like some primitive Arabian towel-head,” as evidenced in this book and the news every night.

She’s My Dad brings this terrifying hate to the forefront in a spell binding and dynamic way. The story begins in a small town in Virginia. A wealthy man disowns one of his sons because of his homosexuality, only to have that very son be his only surviving heir. In an effort to shine a light on the inherent hate within our society, that son turns his vast fortune, and even his home, into a university whose ideals are integration and acceptance. Despite his noble efforts, the small town that is the home to this university isn’t enlightened enough to deal with its existence, and the locals harbor a hatred for the institution and everything it stands for.

Flash forward. An intelligent and engaging woman returns to the university 25 years after graduation to take up the mantle of a professor. A journalism major discovers the secrets of this woman’s past; she is a transgendered woman and, through a youthful indiscretion with a married local woman, is the father of a local boy. This boy has been raised in a home of hatred and intolerance. The new professor’s appointment to the university’s staff forces the staff, the students, the town, and her own son to finally address the prejudice inherent within themselves.

She’s My Dad is an action packed story with a great deal of insight into the human heart. Woulff creates a cast of characters that are fascinating and cause the reader to care about what happens to them. She’s My Dad is more than just a novel, it is an experience.

ABOUT THE REVIEWER: Erin fell in love with the written word as a small child and subsequently spent most of her life happily devouring literature. She works as a freelance news, marketing, and technical writer. Erin lives just outside of Cleveland, Ohio with her husband, children, and grandchildren.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Like her title character Nickie Farrell, Iolanthe Woulff is a transsexual woman. A fifty-nine-year-old Princeton-educated English major, she lives in Palm Springs, CA, where for several years she wrote a column in a local magazine about the challenges of gender transition. As the eldest child of author Herman Wouk, storytelling has always been dear to Ms. Woulff's heart. Her hope is that besides providing a suspenseful read, She's My Dad will help to dispel some of the widespread misconceptions about transsexual people.

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