Perhaps the first thing I noticed when unwrapping my eagerly awaited delivery from Amazon was just how big a read “Yes, You Are Trans Enough” by Mia Violet is. In total the book extends to 351 pages.
So I guess you, the reader, is expecting an equally comprehensive book review, after all, the trans book market is starting to get pretty crowded out there, and there are lots you can choose from.
I try to read a book cover to cover (it is not that I am tight and want to extort every pennyworth) ... I find even a dedication, gives a bit of an insight.
From the very first words of “Yes, You Are Trans Enough” I became immediately thrilled - because in the 'Introduction' Mia explains the reason for writing her book in these simple words ...“I was sick of seeing so much misinformation and lies about my community”.
I immediately knew this would be a good book for me because, of course, my website is built around precisely the same principle. The trans community are smeared and lied about by people who have no right to invade to our lives – making it necessary to appeal to the public that we are a peaceful community seeking normality and just a tad of understanding.
Also, in the Introduction Mia says that she had an expected word count for “Yes, You Are Trans Enough” and that she well exceeded her target - producing a book more “meatier” than anticipated.
And if there is a failing with this book, I would suggest that it is a tad too long by about twenty pages or so towards the final chapters.
But don’t get me wrong here… the book remains entertaining all the way through, and I certainly did not want to put it down.
One of Mia’s aims was to produce a book that worked for both cis and trans people and to be a “primer” to cis folk about the complexities of being trans.
And here she did a phenomenally good job.
“Yes, You Are Trans Enough” opens up in Chapter One by setting the scene in the same way as I do in “My Story” on this website and immediately oozes detail about Mia’s Catholic upbringing. I loved the aspect of her days at her primary school and perhaps one of the magic moments in this book is the day she lined up with the boys but suddenly got that explosion of thought that she should be lining up with the girls.
Mia suffered at school. As a boy, she did not fit in but equally had not found the solace of being a girl.
Mia was a misfit.
And as all misfits do, they become targets for bullying and ridicule – for society from an early age, take pleasure in calling out people they don’t understand. Mia suffered both mental and physical abuse, and it becomes clear this instilled in Mia the hatred of violence. I agree 100%.
Why do things nastily when the gentle methods are so much better?
Unlike myself, Mia did not discover her transness from an early age. Of course, back in the 1950s & ’60s, I did not understand or indeed know the words transgender, transgenderism, transvestite, trans, transition, trans woman or indeed tranny, (for the uninitiated many of these names are no longer P C). But I knew from a remarkably early age I wanted to be a girl and wear female clothes.
And here we get to one on Mia’s evident passions which she plugs several times in her book – the need to offer trans kids puberty blockers. I have written elsewhere on my website that if I was born in 2002 instead of 1952, that I would have loved to been offered these.
I was born at least fifty years too early, and my parents, (unlike Mia’s parents who rejected the suggestion she was trans) were, in many ways, ahead of their time. I think they would have offered me the option of blockers if I was born half a century later.
My life and indeed, Mia’s life should have been so different!
Mia’s story repeats what trans folk often expect but pray will not happen - rejection by close family and she writes about this in heart-breaking detail.
Did it all end happily ever after?
I am not going to give that one away – buy the book.
It is not until leaving school that life starts to get better, and Mia’s journey to becoming a trans woman comes from the standard cross-dressing route.
Mia goes into good detail here about the initial fear of buying female clothes, to embracing a preferred style and then appreciating the importance of colour to mood. I am not sure if Mia has twigged yet about specific colours working with her beautiful hair which she continually refers to as her pride, joy, and to some extent lifeline.
Her transition to a woman proves a nightmare not simply because of the pettiness of "the system" that NHS routed trans folk are forced to take, but also for the fact that it proved impossible for her to even attend any Gender Identity Clinics closer to her new home.
Now I break off here for a spell because to do a book review is, of course, a personal review. An opinion. I write this review as a trans woman, and I appreciate Mia wrote her book aimed at both the trans and the cis reader.
So, writing as a trans woman, what are my highlights from Mia Violet's book? Yes, You Are Trans Enough.
Well, it is most definitely very entertaining and a “good read”. For the entertainment value alone, it is certainly worth buying. I liked the references that people don’t change during transition. I also liked the acknowledgement that sometimes distressed folk can get an awful lot from counselling, (Mia’s counsellor Holly is a clear star). I also recognised that work colleagues are often very supportive of trans folk.
A bit of a downside to Mia’s book is that I personally am always on the search for advanced information and answers, and here Mia’s book did not really work for me. But then again it shouldn’t the book is a “primer” for the uninformed and in this regard, the book is a clear winner.
As I write this review, I am “doing a Mia”.
I set out with a clear target of eight hundred words for this book review, and now I have exceeded my target by a considerable amount.
I have put this down to joy.
I led in bed this morning thinking just what am I going to say about Yes, You Are Trans Enough? And the words have flowed.
I have covered just a few points from a book that is well written, makes valid suggestions and above all, entertains. My wife is not a book person, but I am hoping that I can “twist her arm” to read this book rather than constantly entwine herself in the doom and gloom of Facebook.
I write this review in July 2020 while we are still amid the COVID-19 pandemic and good news is hard to come by.
Mia’s book was published some two years ago, so before wrapping up this review, I thought it would be a good idea to see how things had progressed in Mia Violet’s life.
Now sadly, I do not participate in social media. I am of an age that I do not understand it and not wanting to make a fool of myself I restrict myself to a medium I understand...a website. I know this a major failing of mine but at this time I have no answers on this.
However, I use my website to extend the same messages as Mia does in her book and her social media accounts.
Google very kindly directed me to her Twitter feed, and I was delighted to see the same Mia is banging on about trans rights.
Mia says she is proud to be trans - proud to be queer.
We are proud together Mia, and in my 15th of June blog, I made the same point to our beautiful Generation Z and indeed the teenagers of today who will finally take us over the line of full acceptance.
Congrats on your book Mia - 4.8 stars!!!!
We are both trans enough, and we both know full well what is right and what has to be done.