A typical teen abortion novel with transgender stuff thrown in for no sufficient reason except to try to make a longwinded narrative sexy, read only if you must write a report for school or college.
Pen, the main character, is supposed to be a lesbian and transgender character, but most readers would conclude that wanting to style her hair or wear jeans as men do isn’t a sufficient reason for a biological female to pursue an aggressive LGBTQ lifestyle, which distorts heterosexual normativity.
The abortion episode in the novel is just as irrelevant as the transgender ones. The father abandons both mother and unborn child, the child is killed, and the teen lovers split up. Pen’s role is the same as any other collaborator in the abortion killing. Her being transgender has nothing to do with the killing of the unborn child.
Finally, the sexual scenes in the novel are standard fare for publishers to entice teens to read their books. The lesbian sex scenes are juvenile and laughable. Somewhat more interesting are the depictions of the male characters who obviously have not learned what male sexuality is all about. Pen’s video-game buddies, the males in Pen’s high school, all think that male sexuality just concerns ejaculation. These boys have obviously swallowed the secularist philosophy of the abortion business Planned Parenthood, which grooms young people to think that sex is an activity that anybody can (and must) engage in solely for pleasure. Is it possible those selfish sacks of male hormones will realize that sex is an expression of love between a husband and wife for the two purposes of uniting them in intense sexual pleasure and having their activity be open to the creation of new life?
Nah, these boys just want to squirt. As one says, “I just wanna have fun and get laid” (30).
More interesting, however, are the passages where Pen’s language falters as she considers her gender dysphoria. She knows she is a biological female; she recognizes that she is “a girl” (323) and that “Girls can’t decide they’re not girls anymore” (335). The reader should therefore feel some compassion for how screwed up she has become in not understanding that her gender was not “assigned” at birth, but recognized.
Pen’s confusion over language can be illustrated by two passages. The first regards the words “dude” vs. “girl”: “It’s like one second, I should be a better dude. I should stop being such a girly douche, and I should just man up. Then, it’s the opposite: I’m too much of a guy, and it’s not right. I should be a girl, because that’s what I’m supposed to be” (42).
The second passage questions language which offered standard definitions in American English for years, some for centuries, to denote sexual deviancy in general:
“I don’t think of myself as being gay, because that word sounds like it belongs to some guy. Lesbian makes me think of some forty-year-old woman. And queer feels like it can mean anything, but like—am I queer because I like girls, or because I look the way I do? Maybe I don’t know enough words” (65; italics in original)
Is this novel worth reading? It can be if you must write a report for school. It can be worthwhile if only to illustrate that even transgender authors like Girard will eventually produce novels which support heterosexual normativity. It can even be helpful to show that transgender authors incorrectly presume that they must write pro-abortion works when they should realize that being transgender has nothing to do with abortion, which harms women, kills unborn babies, and alienates fathers—an eminently heterosexual thing for them to consider, which may account for their difficulty in depicting abortion episodes from the real world.
This was the second of five novels I examined for a presentation before a scholarly audience on recent transgender literature and the right-to-life issues. My recommendation is that it is neither worthwhile nor necessary to purchase this novel (especially not from Amazon, which supports pro-abortion politicians), but pro-life readers may want to borrow it from their local libraries instead.