Friday, September 04, 2015

Guy Friday- George

24612624Gino, Alex. George.
August 25th 2015 by Scholastic Press
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline

This book has since been retitled Melissa

George is a transgender girl who would prefer to be called Melissa, but she is afraid to tell anyone around her how she feels. This explains why feminine pronouns are used to refer to George from the beginning of the book. George has not told anyone about her feelings, but has a secret stash of teen magazines that she reads when she feels stressed out. Her best friend, Kelley, is very supportive, even when George is determined to play the part of Charlotte is a class production of Charlotte's Web. The teacher says that it's not possible to cast a boy in a girl's role, and Kelley gets the part. The two conspire to have George act in one of the performances. Eventually, George comes out to her brother, who is very supportive (although he originally thought George was gay), and his mother, who takes some time to process this information, but who is supportive as well. George has the opportunity to go to the zoo with Kelley dressed as "Melissa", and we get the feeling that George will eventually transition with the help of his friends and family.
Strengths: This  shows the difficulties of gender identity issues realistically and sympathetically. George's struggles echo those voiced by transgendered children in the Front Line episode, Growing Up Trans. I highly recommend watching that to try to understand this issue.
Weaknesses: The use of the female pronouns made this book start off in a confusing fashion, but perhaps that was the point. George's father wasn't in the picture, and I think the inclusion of a father figure would have added even more depth, and perhaps more resistance, to the discussions.
What I really think: I liked this better than Gracefully Grayson, but the two have a lot in common. I feel like I should have them in my library, even though I think few students will ever ask to read something on the subject. (Interestingly enough, the girls will pick up One Man Guy more often than the boys will.)

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