Trans-Sister Radio

Radio is about a newly divorced schoolteacher, Allison Banks, who falls in love with the man who teaches a summer course in which she attends. Dana Stevens, the professor she loves, is not exactly what he seems from the outside; this well-manicured, gentle-faced man is in actuality a woman and he is facing an upcoming sex change. Allison’s daughter Carly and her ex-husband, Will, try to deal with her new “beau” as best they can. Also it defines the struggles Dana has gone through with his “social issue” but also the struggle to tell Allison, the one he loves, and hopes she can see him as who he truly is- a woman.

The story is told through 5 perspectives; Dana, Allison, Carly, Will, and VPR transcripts. Will, the president of Vermont Public Radio and Carly’s dad, – is very weary about the whole thing, he doesn’t even know what to say. Carly is a senior who just graduated and is looking forward to attending college in late August. She is dealing with her parents’ separation, college and her mom’s new squeeze- who wants a sex change. Through his perspective he has always known that he has wanted to be a woman. He liked women; he knew he was gay- but a gay woman, not a male.

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Growing up he states that he knew not to ask for Barbie’s, dresses’ or anything remotely girly. But behind closed doors he would put on his sisters make-up and prance around his room in a dress. Dana is in his mid thirties and a professor who has just met the girl of his dreams. Allison and Dana spend lots of time together, hiking, picnicking, and even just reading on her porch. Carly is going off to college in late August and Dana has to break the news to Allison soon after that because his surgery is coming up.

Allison and Will bring Carly off to college as Dana is at home thinking of ways to break it to Allison. Meanwhile mentally Dana is preparing to pack-up and move on with his life without Allison. Well to Dana’s surprise Allison is more caring and understanding of his “situation” then he thought she was. Now having to face the world as her current situation changes might not be as easy as Allison thought. After all living in a small Vermont community has its downfalls. Dana describes his problem; he is a female born into a males skin/body.

He plucks his eyebrows and waxes his body to deal with the hair situation. Dana’s problem in this novel is transsexualism. A medical diagnosis can be made if a person experiences discomfort as a result of a desire to be a member of the opposite sex or if a person experiences impaired functioning or distress. The causes of this social issue is still unknown, though many proposals have been obtained no known cause is known. My guess would be a chemical imbalance in the brain causing more of one hormone to excrete, and too much of that one hormone could cause the brain to “malfunction” if you will.

Most people who have this problem opt to have a sex change, where the male or female parts are removed and the opposite part is re-constructed. These procedures are very expensive but are worth it to be happy to some people. In Trans-Sister radio Dana is one of the many average human to just so happen to have this problem. There is nothing wrong with him and I am glad that Allison can see that and see past his problems and still love him and be able to continue to be with him.

In conclusion I thought this book was an ok book, at first I thought it was really good but as I started meeting new characters and reading each perspective it got a little bit confusing. I felt like Dana, Carly, and Will were just make-shift characters, liken card-board cutouts, and that it should have told the story through less perspectives or just one novel from one perspective. When you get too many characters like that it takes away from the true emotional nature of the book and it gets hard to find the real message.

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