Book Review of Sissy by Jacob Tobia
Why you should read this book
Sissy: A coming-of-gender story by Jacob Tobia was our April read-along pick! And, it definitely is one of the best non-fiction books I have ever read! Who is Jacob Tobia? Well, the most brilliant, gorgeous and amazing QUEEN, of course! Tobia also is a LGBTQIA rights activist, a feminist writer and a co-producer and host for the series Queer 2.0.
Sissy has been described as sensational, honest and poignant. It’s all true. In this book, Tobia shares with us how it is to grow as genderqueer in a binary, conventional and prejudiced society. By revisiting childhood and adulthood, the activist triggers a myriad of fundamental questions about gender.
I loved this book for many reasons. First of all, Sissy is relevant and extremely necessary. If you don’t understand what it means to be genderqueer in our society, read this book! If you do, read it anyway because you will learn!
Second, this memoir is honest and heartfelt. Every single time I read this book or listened to the audiobook, I felt like I was having coffee with Jacob. Speaking of the audiobook, I highly recommend it. It’s narrated by the author and, oh my God, it is HILARIOUS!
I used to laugh on the train by myself, while listening to Jacob telling all these serious and important things with his unique tone and funny remarks. In terms of specific content, I loved how Jacob Tobia described the personal relation with the church (I was raised a Christian), the experience with the UN and American colleges.
Summary of Sissy
A heart-wrenching, eye-opening, and giggle-inducing memoir about what it’s like to grow up not sure if you’re (a) a boy, (b) a girl, (c) something in between, or (d) all of the above. From the moment a doctor in Raleigh, North Carolina, put “male” on Jacob Tobia’s birth certificate, everything went wrong.
Alongside “male” came many other, far less neutral words: words that carried expectations about who Jacob was and who Jacob should be, words like “masculine” and “aggressive” and “cargo shorts” and “SPORTS!”
Naturally sensitive, playful, creative, and glitter-obsessed, as a child Jacob was given the label “sissy.” In the two decades that followed, “sissy” joined forces with “gay,” “trans,” “nonbinary,” and “too-queer-to-function” to become a source of pride and, today, a rallying cry for a much-needed gender revolution.
Through revisiting their childhood and calling out the stereotypes that each of us have faced, Jacob invites us to rethink what we know about gender and offers a bold blueprint for a healed world–one free from gender-based trauma and bursting with trans-inclusive feminism.
From Jacob’s Methodist childhood and the hallowed halls of Duke University to the portrait-laden parlors of the White House, Sissy takes you on a gender odyssey you won’t soon forget. Writing with the fierce honesty, wildly irreverent humor, and wrenching vulnerability that have made them a media sensation, Jacob shatters the long-held notion that people are easily sortable into “men” and “women.” Sissy guarantees that you’ll never think about gender–both other people’s and your own–the same way again.
Publisher: Putnam Books (Penguin Random House)
Published on: March 2019
James Gray has a life-long interest in politics, travel, the environment, and global affairs. He works in IT but his heart truly beats for the written word.