A review by ashleysarra
Detransition, Baby, by Torrey Peters

challenging emotional informative reflective slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters feels like a long awaited novel. With so many stories about trans youth becoming more common and popular in Young and New Adult literature, it was frankly past due for a Literary Adult novel to come out featuring adult trans and trans questioning individuals. The writing in this book is phenomenal, perfectly highlighting the complicated and messy trio of characters this story features. Above all, this is an incredible story about gender and motherhood, with a premise which fundamentally breaks the traditional concept of the nuclear family. 

The triad of main characters in this story all offer a different facet to womanhood and identity, and are tied together through past memories and current desires. Reese is a trans woman who desires the comfortable life of upper class motherhood. Reese is a complex character who is fueled by jealousy. She is quick to judge others with little disregard with how her own past actions affect others. Despite this, Reese is a natural caretaker with a knack for caring for infants and children--something that certainly ties into her desire to care for her own child someday. Amos, Reese's ex, has recently de-transitioned and is introduced as the recent divorcee of Katerina. Amos has a complicated relationship with gender. He has hopes that identifying as a man rather than a trans women will be easier, but comes with its own challenges. The most glaring challenge Amos faces in the novel is getting his ex wife pregnant. Fearing commitment and fatherhood, he convinces Katerina to attempt a parenting triad with an individual who is committed to parenthood: Reese. These interactions are at times tense and cautious, as Katerina is a cis Asian American woman pregnant with a man she previously viewed as adhering to the gender binary. Despite this, all three members are willing to work together to figure out if a baby together is truly right for all of them. 

The best moments of this novel are moments of honesty that are bluntly shared throughout the story. Reese's theories on trans and cis identities, Amos' moments of debating his gender identity, and Katerina's reminders of how race and sexism also shape the cis experience emphasize how all these characters are different and the result of an intersectional society. It's great to see how each character interacts in uncomfortable situations, with their flaws splayed out for the reader without apology. At times this story can feel slow as it transitions back and forth between the past and present, but overall, it builds to a very well rounded and nuanced modern story. 

For fans of Pose and Disclosure, this book will be a treat while offering new concepts to chew on. This book is currently on a couple Best sellers lists, which comes at no surprise for me as a reviewer. On a completely separate note: the cover is gorgeous. Make sure to get a copy from your local bookstore as soon as possible. 

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