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Publisher's Summary

The provocative best seller She's Not There is the winning, utterly surprising story of a person changing genders. By turns hilarious and deeply moving, Jennifer Finney Boylan explores the territory that lies between men and women, examines changing friendships, and rejoices in the redeeming power of family. Told in Boylan's fresh voice, She's Not There is about a person bearing and finally revealing a complex secret. Through her clear eyes, She's Not There provides a new window on the confounding process of accepting our true selves.

©2013 Jennifer Finney Boylan (P)2016 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"She's Not There, the 

Running with Scissors of sex-change stories, brings irreverence and a merrily outrageous sense of humor to this potentially serious business." (The New York Times)

"Probably no book I've read in recent years has made me so question my basic assumptions about both the centrality and the permeability of gender, and made me recognize myself in a situation I've never known and have never faced.... The universality of the astonishingly uncommon: that's the trick of She's Not There. And with laughs, too. What a good book." (Anna Quindlen, from the introduction to the Book-of-the-Month-Club edition)
"Beautifully crafted, fearless, painfully honest, inspiring, and extremely witty. Jennifer Finney Boylan is an exquisite writer with a fascinating story, and this combination has resulted in one of the most remarkable, moving, and unforgettable memoirs in recent history." (Augusten Burroughs, author of Running with Scissors and Dry)

What listeners say about She's Not There

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Inspiring novel of MTF transition

I found the book very inspiring because I am transgender and can totally relate to the problems Jenni dealt with. Unfortunate not all transgender women have been as blessed as her with respect to friends and family support. So at times I found myself crying more over how I wished my life could be at least that easy. Still I loved the book, and believe it is a wonderful insight in the reality and pain transgender women must endure to be happy.

11 people found this helpful

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Glad I Listened

Just a note: this is an audiobook of the 10th anniversary edition which contains additional material and afterwords from Jenny's wife, Grace, and best friend, Rick Russo, that also shed light on the effects of the original publication on all of their lives and, I feel, better helps the reader to understand each person's individual journey.
Although I had read reviews that described the narration as off-putting, I greatly enjoyed hearing from the author herself as certain scenes and phrases in her book benefitted from the emphases placed upon certain words. It was also nice that, in a memoir dealing with a person's gender identity and their transitioning into the social and physical modes that better match their inner reality, the person was able to let their own identity shine through. Additionally, getting to hear the afterwords from Grace and Rick in their own voices gave a better sense of their own transitioning - so to borrow the term - as they came to understand and accept Jenny and their own lives in the wake of her self-integration.

I feel like this work is worthy of a listen by anyone who has an opinion (of any sort) about persons who are transgender and those who love them as well as by anyone who is trying to make sense of the topic. I think it would be especially helpful to family, friends, and allies of anyone in the LGBTQIA+ community for understanding what their loved one and they themselves are experiencing as they navigate and adapt to their world in light of the self-revelations and changes that are taking place. Lessons and observations taken here can apply to anyone who is (or loves someone who is) coming out - be that about their gender identity or orientation. I think what this book does well is to present honest and empathetic reflections regarding Jenny's wife and best friend. The journey that they have to catch up with her on once she comes out and begins transitioning in earnest is difficult and sometimes painful for them and this requires Jenny to recognize and listen to her loved ones who aren't able to instantly switch over to what she already understands without some processing. This book is honest about the grief that comes when assumptions and expectations have to change. It is kind to those in the process and it helps those who are the focal point of that shift to remember to bring some grace and time for those loved ones as they sort through the good old treasures to bring along to the new house of their relationship with their friend, family, or lover.

2 people found this helpful

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She is not there... excellent

This book was very insightful. As a mother whose son was at first “only gay,” to now starting on the path to transition, it was helpful in understanding what he may be going through. I love and support my son with all my heart and wish only that he be happy and true to who he really is. Thank you for sharing your story.

5 people found this helpful

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Lost me

Although I enjoyed the overall story, there were too many little tangents and unnecessary details that got in the way of the story. I also didn't care for the narration, especially some of the character voices that seemed a little over the top.

6 people found this helpful

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Eek. Mildly annoying

I couldn’t handle more than 3 chapters in this book. Get the paperback if anything because the audible will make you cringe and want to tear your friggin cochlears out. The jokes are ‘trying’ to be funny but they’re not clever, just cheesy and elementary. Still haven’t found a full length book that educated people on trans with a good story behind it. I had no idea what was going on half the time in this try-too-hard-comedy

4 people found this helpful

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Journey in poetry speak.

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Probably not. There was so much 'poetic' sounding speaking that I couldn't hear what the point was. It wasn't until the later parts that the reading turned less cheesy and more...the way we speak when sharing our journeys.

Would you recommend She's Not There to your friends? Why or why not?

No. It went off subject too often with details of things that had nothing to do with the story. Very distracting.

Which character – as performed by Jennifer Finney Boylan – was your favorite?

Nora. Sweet Nora. And Grace. The conversation at the restaurant about tore my heart in two. It was so raw and so painful. Bless her heart.

Did She's Not There inspire you to do anything?

No.

Any additional comments?

I wanted to hear about actual experiences from start to finish on this journey so I could learn something. Everything from dancing on the opposite side, the medical, to what was eye-opening from being a man, to being reborn as a woman.

7 people found this helpful

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ComfortIng stories, uncomfortably read

Comforting, validating, informative, endearing stories uncomfortably read by the author. One would think that the writer would best know the meter and timber and tone to use, reading her own tales, but this is a situation in which a professional reader would have brought fuller and richer life to the telling.

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Inspiring and validating

This was a fun and entertaining story as well as educational. I am a M2F trans person and I enjoyed hearing about the perspective from another trans person. Jenny is a very engaging and funny writer.

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What a voice!

I loved every nuance of this story. The message so entirely relatable to anyone who ever has guarded or hidden a precious aspect of themselves felt to be too scary or ridiculous or unlovable to share. But then could no longer keep it under wraps. Best of the many voices Ms. Boylan does are hilarious and well executed- making this an extra special experience in its audio format. Thank you for sharing this incredibly brave story.

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Fantastic

Was read so we'll. I understand that we trans folks are all different. Jennifer is a overachiever myself a underachiever but we intersect in so many ways even if we are so different. Jennifer caused me be proud of who I am as prior to listening life dealt me some devastating blows. We're not alone we are there for each other. This was what I needed to hear. Jen may never know it but she kept me in the game when I wanted to give up & in. this read is more than worth it.

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  • ania
  • 11-29-20

Horrible narration

The author makes horrible voices, presumeably thinking that they are funny. They are not. They are annoying and pretensious which spoils the book for me. Also, lenghty superfluous and even more pretensious dialogs make the book quite uninvolving. Such a shame, because I expected memoir and wanted to learn about trans-sexual people. Gets better as it progresses though. Or maybe I just got used to annoying elements and initial disappointment they caused me.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-10-21

This is a must

What an amazing life story and an inspiration from Jennifer Boylan to see that it is only your self that stops from doing what is true for your self