Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters is one of my top five favorite books I’ve read in 2020 and I cannot recommend it enough. This story is so unique, witty and heartbreaking and had me hooked from the very beginning. I walked away from this book feeling so many different emotions and I still feel like my words won’t be able to do this book the justice it deserves.
BOOK DESCRIPTION: Reese almost had it all: a loving relationship with Amy, an apartment in New York City, a job she didn’t hate. She had scraped together what previous generations of trans women could only dream of: a life of mundane, bourgeois comforts. The only thing missing was a child. But then her girlfriend, Amy, detransitioned and became Ames, and everything fell apart. Now Reese is caught in a self-destructive pattern: avoiding her loneliness by sleeping with married men.
Ames isn’t happy either. He thought detransitioning to live as a man would make life easier, but that decision cost him his relationship with Reese—and losing her meant losing his only family. Even though their romance is over, he longs to find a way back to her. When Ames’s boss and lover, Katrina, reveals that she’s pregnant with his baby—and that she’s not sure whether she wants to keep it—Ames wonders if this is the chance he’s been waiting for. Could the three of them form some kind of unconventional family—and raise the baby together?
This provocative debut is about what happens at the emotional, messy, vulnerable corners of womanhood that platitudes and good intentions can’t reach. Torrey Peters brilliantly and fearlessly navigates the most dangerous taboos around gender, sex, and relationships, gifting us a thrillingly original, witty, and deeply moving novel.
Detransition, Baby is essentially a study of motherhood and three women: Amy/Ames, Katrina and Reese. Ames is a former trans woman who detransitioned from Amy and began dating his cisgender boss, Katrina. When Katrina became pregnant, after Ames was convinced he was sterile due to his 6 years of treatments while he was Amy, he finally came clean to Katrina about his past as a trans woman. Reese, also a trans woman and Amy’s ex girlfriend, wants to be a mother more than anything in this world. After finding out that Katrina is pregnant, Ames comes up with the unconventional idea of proposing to Reese and Katrina that they raise this baby together. The story flips back and forth between pre-conception and post-conception, giving you a detailed view of Amy’s transition, her relationship and life with Reese, the reasons why she ended up detransitioning and how her life led her to Katrina and their current situation.
I was truly blown away by the characters in this book. They are raw, real, complex and leave you with no choice but to be utterly invested in them- I couldn’t get enough of Amy/Ames’s and Reese’s stories. What I loved the most about them was how messy and honest these characters are and how eye opening their experiences are. You will not be able to read this without feeling their pain, fear, triumphs, joys, hopes, disappointments, and more.
Torrey Peters is an incredibly talented writer and storyteller and after reading her dedication in the beginning of the book, I need to know about her story and everything that inspired this book. Detransition, Baby is an incredible thought-provoking book that taught me so much about the lives of white trans women. Peters does an incredible job at exploring so many other themes such as divorce, parenthood, womanhood, unconventional family structures, sexuality, gender, mental illness, body dysphoria, friendship and more. The exploration of these themes made for quite a few moments of discomfort throughout the book, but they were absolutely necessary and I how thought provoking they were.
This book will make you feel so many different feelings and I encourage you to sit with those feelings afterward. I am so impressed with this compelling story and I truly cannot applaud Peters enough for writing such a fantastic debut novel. I look forward to reading more by her and watching her career grow. Thank you so much NetGalley and Random House for gifting me this eARC in exchange for my honest review 💛
BEER RECOMMENDATION: Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters is best paired with Cobbler: Blueberry Peach by Black Flag Brewing Company. This delicious fruited sour is brewed with cinnamon tincture, vanilla, lactose and over 450lbs of blueberries and peaches 🍻