Friday, September 4, 2015

Book review: My Name is Brett

My Name is Brett by Brett Ray

Description from Brett's website (below) can be found here along with other responses from early readers. 

My Name is Brett: Truths from a Trans Christian is the story of a transgender Christian finding his name, voice, and strength. The book holds humorous stories of his upbringing, tough stories of addiction, and the stories of hope he has found in his transition. It centers on his journey toward his name—Brett—and how foundational finding and being called Brett is for “naming” the big truths in his life. A transition is never easy, and the book refuses to water down the difficult complexities of being transgender. But, it simultaneously refuses to deny the continually regenerating hope found in loving family, friends, recovery, and in the ability to tell one’s story honestly and boldly. Most simply put, My Name is Brett: Truths from a Trans Christian is a love story; it’s a love story about a man finally falling in love with himself.

Disclaimer: Brett is a friend of a friend and sent me an advanced reader's copy of his book in exchange for me reviewing it here and on other platforms.

More and more, transgender men and women are stepping into the public eye. Most recently, Caitlyn Jenner famously came out, but before that, the world was already getting to know Janet Mock, Laverne Cox, Geena Rocero and more wonderful transgender celebrities.

I've previously read and reviewed Janet Mock's memoir, but Brett's book, My Name is Brett, is the first I've read from a trans man. I was excited to get to hear his perspective on his transition and his life as a Christian, trans man.

Brett's book is an honest retelling of his thought process throughout much of his transition -- from the day he realized he was transgender, through picking his name, through the days when he would forget his own name and be corrected by friends. This play-by-play of his transition makes My Name is Brett an awesome read for anyone who knows someone transitioning or knows someone who is transgender and wants to understand more what that process feels like.

Though Brett's experiences are only his own, and not truly representative of the entire trans community, his story conveys the importance of supporting trans people in whatever way they need support. His story shows how calling someone by their right, true name can be a life saving act. It allows cis (non-trans) people a peek into the mind of someone transitioning and allows us to have true understanding and empathy for someone going through something we may never experience ourselves.

Brett's story also tackles the tough topic of the physical changes someone may or may not choose to go through as they transition. As you hopefully know, it's rude to ask someone about their physical transition -- it's a very personal topic! -- but Brett shares some of his thoughts and feelings behind his choices.

I was moved by Brett's story, by the affect a supportive person could have on his transition and his mental health, and by his ability to understand and empathize with his family and friends' varied reactions. Although a gender transition is a very foreign experience to any cis person, Brett's story makes it relateable and close to home. His honesty and openness made the emotions of transitioning real to me, even though I've never experienced anything like it.

I would recommend My Name is Brett to anyone who wants to know more about the experience of transitioning -- even if you're not a person of faith, even if you're not transitioning, even if you don't know anyone who has.

My Name is Brett officially comes out (haha... see what I did there?) September 9. If you're in the Durham, NC area, he's having a release party September 8 and you can get an early copy! Brett's book is not officially on Amazon yet, but I'll update this review when it is -- it will be available hard copy and in kindle version.

Thoughtful comments and responses only please! :) I don't worry about my normal readers, but if anyone were to post hateful content, it would be deleted.


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