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"dragons in manhattan"


girl goddess #9: nine stories by francesca lia block

this is a book that i have had for some years now and i read it a while ago and i enjoyed it a lot. the author tackles issues that most don't dare to address, especially when targeted at a younger audience. as amazon.com puts it;

"the author sets about deflating the oppositions that most people either reinforce or invent in order to distance themselves from others: carefree child/knowing adult; straight/gay; black/white; male/female."
but one story has always stuck out to me and stayed with me in a sense. it was unlike anything i had read when i was younger and the storyline was not one that was applicable to my life at the time but it fascinated me. learning about gender and transsexual individuals, the story came back to me. it is entitled "dragons in manhattan" and it is about a little girl that lives with her two mothers. she loves them both very much and appreciates both of them and loves her life until she goes to school and other kids question her about her nonnormative family. this prompts the little girl to begin to question her parents as well and she starts to see them in the eyes of the other children. she wants to know about her father and who he was and where he went and where he is now. after running away, traveling from new york to california, she finds out that one of her "mothers" is actually her father, a transsexual. her father always felt like he was different and he wanted to be a girl. the story is reminiscent of that of "judy/max" from the middlesexes video, yet sort of reversed. her father falls in love with this girl, however she is a lesbian. so then after they conceive a child, he has a sex change and becomes the woman he always wanted to be and the woman that the other woman always wanted and they live happily ever after with their biological child in the situation that makes them happiest as they deal with others' perceptions.
i realize now how empowering block's work is and how important it is that there are authors like her that are willing to talk about issues that are stigmatized.
"block blossoms in this collection of short stories about love: straight, gay, familial, and otherworldly. Very few young adult authors talk as frankly as Block about sex and some of the other yearnings we feel in this world, yet she guides her readers toward the self-respect and courage necessary to make smart choices about those yearnings." (amazon)

this story makes me think about:
- transsexuals
- acceptance
- love
- familial situations, not everyone lives in suburbia with a dog, two kids, and a mom and dad