By Stacy Danielle Stephens. (Full disclosure. I received a free electronic copy of this book from a friend.)
Right. First of all, this book is about the experiences of various Transsexuals dealing with their experiences in reality and life. The book is excellently written, and I'm a bit surprised at the fact that there appears to be a deliberate attempt at not mentioning what the book is about anywhere I've seen. Given that the theme of the book involves living with and coming to terms with the truth of who they are; it seems a bit of a mixed message to spring a 'surprise' in how it is marketed. Its not like there is some big reveal at the end. The reader learns about it in the first three pages. It seems a bit of a Kangaroo Jack to imply otherwise. I make this comparison not because the book is bad, which it isn't, but because Kangaroo Jack was marketed as a movie about a talking Kangaroo...which it wasn't. At all. Bohemian Girl doesn't go quite into that territory, but it certainly is approaching Hudson Hawk levels (which was marketed as an action drama and was in fact, a quirky surreal fourth wall breaking romantic comedy.)
This book is strong enough to stand alone as what it is. It doesn't need a Shyamalanian twist to get people to read it. I highly recommend it.
The characters are interesting. Personally, I still liked the title story the most. It obvious that the writer has put a lot of their personal life into the book, or researched the lives of others rather thoroughly. Common themes of Nebraska and the Catholic Church seemed especially prominent. The details draw the reader in.
I have often pondered what things I was doing now that might be disapproved of by future generations. For example, while there were blatant racists in the 1940's...there was still a baseline of acceptable behavior by less racist people that would be considered shocking today. I do not want to be judged by history. For a while, I thought that this might be the way we treat animals (and it still might be) and in discussing with others they've said that it might be plastic (or how we treat the planet in a broader sense of the word (and it still might be) but after reading this, I have come to realize that it will DEFINITELY be the case with the way society treats Transsexuals, and if one desires to avoid being judged harshly in the light of future generations, one would be wise to avoid stereotypes and preconceptions as much as possible.
This book does an excellent job of doing that. The characters are real people, with real hopes and dreams. More importantly, while the greater facts of their lives are taken into account, they are still all quite different as individuals and are extremely in depth. This is literature in the finest sense of the world; both for the quality of writing it uses and for the themes that it explores.