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Description - f2M by Hazel Edwards

School-leaver Skye plays guitar in her all-female Chronic Cramps band. Making her name in the punk/indie scene is easier than FTM (female to male) transitioning: from Skye to Finn, from girl to man. Uncovering genetic mysteries about family heritage tear the family apart. Trans gender identity is more than injections and surgery, it's about acceptance. Going public, Finn sings ftm lyrics on TV. With a little help from bemused mates and family who don't want to lose a daughter, but who love their teenager, Finn is transitioning.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9781876462901
ISBN-10: 1876462906
Format: Paperback
(200mm x 133mm x 23mm)
Pages: 330
Imprint: Ford Street Publishing Pty Ltd
Publisher: Hybrid Publishers
Publish Date: 1-Feb-2010
Country of Publication: Australia

Book Reviews - f2M by Hazel Edwards

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Book Review: f2M by Hazel Edwards - Reviewed by (18 Nov 2011)

Eighteen-year-old Skye is a member of an all-girl punk rock band. Skye has never felt like a girl. Inside, (s) he is Finn, a boy. Making the decision to let Finn be outside as well as in involves a lot of work. How do you tell your family and friends and the members of your feminist rock band that you’re going to undergo female-to-male treatment and surgery? Fortunately, there’s a family precedent: great-uncle Albert … or is that great-aunt Alberta?

Skye/Finn could easily be a victim, but refuses. It isn’t going to be easy for anyone, but (s)he decides, finally, that family, friends and rock band will just have to live with it. And they do.

The book goes into enormous detail about the procedures involved in what is known as FTM. It’s a lot less common than the other way around – male to female – although it has been in the news in the last couple of years, when a man who had kept his female “equipment” had a baby because his wife couldn’t. I knew a female-to-male myself. Unlike Skye, "Jan" became “David” in her/his forties. Nobody, but nobody dared to call Jan a woman, even when she was! And David’s family and friends accepted it as Finn’s family do in the novel. At his funeral, the nephews and nieces referred to "Uncle David", even when he was no longer there to get upset.

The novel also explores the punk rock sub-culture, which is interesting in its own right.

Ford Street Publishing has become known for taking on controversial subjects. It probably needs an author as well-known and respected as Hazel Edwards to get away with this one. Ryan Kennedy, her co-author, is himself an FTM, so knows what he is talking about.

Perhaps an afterword with a URL or organization, if any, within Australia might have helped, so that those to whom the book applies don’t have to do all the web searches that Skye/Finn did in the course of the novel.

It’s well-written and answers a lot of questions. There are some likable characters in it and some nice touches of humour. There’s even the whimsical presentation of a couple who are a female-to-male and a male-to-female. Who are, incidentally, managing just fine. Finn doesn’t like the FTM, Rodney, but hey, he doesn’t have to.

It will certainly appeal to those teenagers who are asking themselves questions about their own gender identities.

Whether or not it will have appeal for ordinary teenagers I am not sure. I suspect they will be uncomfortable with it, though this doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be out there. Will kids who say, “That is so gay!” about anything negative get enthused about characters who are not actually gay but have gender issues? I won’t know until I have put this in my library and seen how the students react. Watch this space.

SUE BURSZTYNSKI

Book Review: f2M by Hazel Edwards - Reviewed by (27 Jun 2011)

Eighteen-year-old Skye is a member of an all-girl punk rock band. Skye has never felt like a girl. Inside, (s) he is Finn, a boy. Making the decision to let Finn be outside as well as in involves a lot of work. How do you tell your family and friends and the members of your feminist rock band that you’re going to undergo female-to-male treatment and surgery? Fortunately, there’s a family precedent: great-uncle Albert … or is that great-aunt Alberta?

Skye/Finn could easily be a victim, but refuses. It isn’t going to be easy for anyone, but (s)he decides, finally, that family, friends and rock band will just have to live with it. And they do.

The book goes into enormous detail about the procedures involved in what is known as FTM. It’s a lot less common than the other way around – male to female – although it has been in the news in the last couple of years, when a man who had kept his female “equipment” had a baby because his wife couldn’t. I knew a female-to-male myself. Unlike Skye, "Jan" became “David” in her/his forties. Nobody, but nobody dared to call Jan a woman, even when she was! And David’s family and friends accepted it as Finn’s family do in the novel. At his funeral, the nephews and nieces referred to "Uncle David", even when he was no longer there to get upset.

The novel also explores the punk rock sub-culture, which is interesting in its own right.

Ford Street Publishing has become known for taking on controversial subjects. It probably needs an author as well-known and respected as Hazel Edwards to get away with this one. Ryan Kennedy, her co-author, is himself an FTM, so knows what he is talking about.

Perhaps an afterword with a URL or organization, if any, within Australia might have helped, so that those to whom the book applies don’t have to do all the web searches that Skye/Finn did in the course of the novel.

It’s well-written and answers a lot of questions. There are some likable characters in it and some nice touches of humour. There’s even the whimsical presentation of a couple who are a female-to-male and a male-to-female. Who are, incidentally, managing just fine. Finn doesn’t like the FTM, Rodney, but hey, he doesn’t have to.

It will certainly appeal to those teenagers who are asking themselves questions about their own gender identities.

Whether or not it will have appeal for ordinary teenagers I am not sure. I suspect they will be uncomfortable with it, though this doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be out there. Will kids who say, “That is so gay!” about anything negative get enthused about characters who are not actually gay but have gender issues? I won’t know until I have put this in my library and seen how the students react. Watch this space.

SUE BURSZTYNSKI

Book Review: f2M by Hazel Edwards - Reviewed by (03 Aug 2010)

Ford Street Publishing is certainly not tying itself down to just one genre for its YA readers. There’s been Foz Meadows’ “Solace and Grief” (vampires), George Ivanoff’s “Gamer’s Quest” (fantasy/SF/gaming) and now “f2m – The Boy Within” – a transgender coming of age story.

f2m is the first-person story of Finn – born Skye – who decides, on his 18th birthday, to finally take steps to becoming the male he knows he is, inside the female form he was born with. It’s not going to be easy, though. What will his family think? And what about the punk band for which he plays lead guitar, the Chronic Cramps? Will his oldest friends see this as a betrayal of their feminist principles from their female friend Skye, or will they learn to embrace Finn in their formerly ‘all girl’ band?

There’s a lot to learn in this book: about being transgendered, the choices that can be made, and the challenges transgendered people and their families can be faced with. It would be a great book for anyone going through those changes, or their family and friends, because it offers so much insight. It’s a great, easy read too – I gobbled it up in less than two days!

However, it would be a dull book if it was only some treatise in educating the public about transgender issues. Instead, it’s is about being true to who you really are, even when that’s really hard (and even if you’re not entirely sure who that is yet). It’s also about friendship, family secrets, unconditional love, courage and compassion. Those are themes that any person can relate to regardless of age, gender, sexuality or preferred brand of music.

While the book is not autobiographical, co-author Hazel Edwards has known Ryan Kennedy for over 20 years – since Ryan was an 11 year old girl.


Author Biography - Hazel Edwards

Best known for There's a Hippopotamus on Our Roof Eating Cake, Melbourne based Hazel Edwards (www.hazeledwards.com) has also written YA novels and adult non-fiction including Difficult Personalities. Family friends, they co-wrote online and via webcam. New Zealand-based Ryan Kennedy lived as a female until his transition to a male at 27. Ryan works in IT and is a passionate environmentalist and musician.

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