Monday, September 24, 2012

A Queer And Pleasant Danger by Kate Bornstein

A Queer and Pleasant Danger caught my eye. I can't remember where I saw it. But I'm glad I decided to read it. Kate does a great job of explaining her history in such a humorous way.
Kate was born Albert Bornstein. Albert grew up in a typical Jewish household in New Jersey. As a young boy, Al knew that he was different. He didn't feel like a boy, he felt like a girl in a boy's body. But he spent his youth trying to reconcile his feelings with his body. He develops an eating disorder in high school that helps him feel more feminine. After college, Al drives across country and winds up in Denver where he's introduced to Scientology. I found the whole Scientology piece fascinating. I don't know much about Scientology (which has changed since Al was a member). I loved learning about while Al immersed himself in it. Al traveled around the world, met interesting people and learning more about himself.
Al eventually becomes Katherine (Kate) and spends a lot of time ruminating on the meaning of gender. Kate's written books exploring the topic of gender and put on plays and productions about gender. At the end of A Queer and Pleasant Danger, Kate realizes that she's not entirely a woman nor is she entirely a man. She didn't say it but she was talking about the third gender. I had a hard time putting A Queer and Pleasant Danger down. Kate's story was appealing. A life long search for who she really was. Plus the stories of those she connected to. I'd love to read Catherine/David's story.
My favorite thing about A Queer and Pleasant Danger was that Kate tried to be honest, as honest as possible. When she didn't remember a timeline, she would say so. When she believed someone else's lies and presented them as truth, she would say so. When she embellished, she would say so. But this memoir isn't for me. Kate wrote her memoir for her estranged daughter and two estranged grandchildren who are still a part of Scientology. While Kate was still Al, he was excommunicated from Scientology. That whole story is pretty interesting so I recommend you read the book to find out why.
Overall I highly recommend A Queer and Pleasant Danger. Others who shared their thoughts on A Queer and Pleasant Danger: Amy Reads, Shelly's LGBT Book Review Blog, and Kelly Vision.

1 comment:

  1. That sounds so interesting! Have you read Middlesex? Similar themes... but not Scientology.


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