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A poignant narrative of one mom’s struggle to support her transgender daughter—showing how any parent can forge a deeper bond with their child by truly listening
Mama, something went wrong in your tummy. And it made me come out as a boy instead of a girl.
When Marlo Mack’s three-year-old utters these words, her world splits wide open. Friends and family, experts, and Marlo herself had long downplayed her “son’s” requests for pretty dresses and long hair as experimentation—as a phase—but that time is over. When little “M” begs, weeping, to be reborn, Marlo knows she has to start listening to her kid.
How to Be a Girl is Mack’s unflinching memoir of M’s coming out—to her father, grandparents, classmates, and the world. Fearful of the prejudice that menaces M’s future, Mack finds her liberal values surprisingly challenged: Why can’t M just be a boy who wears skirts and loves fairies? But M doesn’t give up: She’s a girl!
As mother and daughter teach one another How to Be a Girl, Mack realizes it’s really the world that has a lot to learn—from her sparkly, spectacular M.
“How to Be a Girl exemplifies the true meaning of unconditional love. In this book, Marlo learns that her ‘son’ is actually a transgender girl, and, terrified at first, shows what it looks like to find acceptance and how transformative and uplifting that can be. Capturing the complexity of a mother’s journey to understand her daughter, this book is universally relatable to any parent who is struggling to adapt and embrace who their child truly is as opposed to who the parent thought they were. As transgender children are often misunderstood, How to Be a Girl is an invaluable tool to providing the support and empathy they need. Marlo’s tender reflection and courageous love is an inspiration that will help others to their own awakening.”—Jazz Jennings
Average rating from 4 members
How to be a girl is a moving, brave and incredibly vital memoir that will make you cry and lift you up, Break your heart then wrap a blanket around your shoulders because the story within these pages IS unconditional love and acceptance embodied; It does not get more real, more heart wrenching. or more inspirational than this memoir. How to be a Girl is a mothers story of her journey in raising a transgendered child. While the subject is still relatively new to being recognized as important and acceptable, many stories starting to hit shelves are from the child's point of view.; While those stories are equally vital the knowledge we gain by reading a parents experience through the journey could not possibly be more relevant than is is right now. Ask yourself as a Mother or as a father what would you do if one day your child comes at you with something like this: "Mama, he said, "something went wrong in your tummy...and it made me come out as a boy instead of a girl. "Put me back Mama Put me back so I can come out again as a girl! " This is M's reality as she knew how to voice while being so young. This is the outburst Mack was faced with and this is what truly set off the journey about to unfold. We follow along as worlds feel shattered, new territory is explored, mistakes are made and learning happens every single day for both Mother and daughter. Together the path is paved from a raging storm to the gentle ebb and flow of daily life, of family life as it is for any individual. As readers, we can not gain more from a story than this one. Readers will learn right along with Mack and M, and gather some tools necessary to avoid a situation that for some may be messy. Keep in mind while reading that this is real, this is going on not only for M but for millions of individuals, young and old around the world today. Let this story guide you to a place of solid ground, A perfect accompaniment to the podcast, which if you haven't already been following you must do so now, This book is a start yes, but you will truly be missing out if you don't also give the podcast a try. I do so love the visual aids scattered amongst the book that provides us one more thing the podcast can't quite achieve on its own. Thank you to Netgalley and publishers for the advanced e-copy in exchange for my honest opinion. I am beyond proud to promote this book and will be shouting it's title from the rooftops until everyone near me has experienced this one.
My reaction to How to be a Girl by Marlo Mack was to sit down to read it and not leave my chair until I had finished it. What an amazing journey they have had (and will have, I can't wait to hear more) and how fortunate I feel to have been given a look into their world. This should be read by everyone.
Just hoping this memoir gets into the hands of the right people. No one with an open heart will argue that M is an amazing, wonderful transgender child. At three years old when M tells her mom that something went wrong in her tummy and that she wants to go back and correct things, readers realize the enormity of the struggle transgender people face. In the conclusion, Marlo doesn't sugarcoat the reality that although strides have been made to protect the rights of the transgender, there are those who still pose a real threat.