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Tomboyland  By  cover art

Tomboyland

By: Melissa Faliveno
Narrated by: Melissa Faliveno
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Publisher's Summary

A fiercely personal and startlingly universal essay collection about the mysteries of gender and desire, of identity and class, of the stories we tell and the places we call home.

Flyover country, the middle of nowhere, the space between the coasts. The American Midwest is a place beyond definition, whose very boundaries are a question. It's a place of rolling prairies and towering pines, where guns in bars and trucks on blocks are as much a part of the landscape as rivers and lakes and farms. Where girls are girls and boys are boys, where women are mothers and wives, where one is taught to work hard and live between the lines. But what happens when those lines become increasingly unclear? When a girl, like the land that raised her, finds herself neither here nor there?

In this intrepid collection of essays, Melissa Faliveno traverses the liminal spaces of her childhood in working-class Wisconsin and the paths she’s traveled since, compelled by questions of girlhood and womanhood, queerness and class, and how the lands of our upbringing both define and complicate us even long after we've left. Part personal narrative, part cultural reportage, Tomboyland navigates midwestern traditions, mythologies, landscapes, and lives to explore the intersections of identity and place. From F5 tornadoes and fast-pitch softball to gun culture, strange glacial terrains, kink party potlucks, and the question of motherhood, Faliveno asks curious, honest, and often darkly funny questions about belonging and the body, isolation and community, and what we mean when we use words like woman, family, and home.

©2020 Melissa Faliveno. (P)2020 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved. Excerpt from The Carrying by Ada Limón used with permission from Milkweed Editions. Excerpt from Zami: A New Spelling of My Name by Audre Lorde. © 1982 by Audre Lorde. Published by Crossing Press, Trumansburg, NY.
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: LGBTQ+

Critic Reviews

"Author Melissa Faliveno narrates incisive, relatable essays centered on her identities as a queer-identified, androgynous-appearing woman raised in the Midwest. Faliveno’s tone as she delves into her past reveals the kind of complicated relationship many of us have with our hometowns and former lives.…The author’s conversational tone and pacing engage listeners throughout as she examines how regional menus, family traditions, sports, and gender expectations influenced her development - and continue to do so." —AudioFile Magazine 

"Melissa Faliveno’s deep, steady voice is as mesmerizing and vulnerable as her prose in these essays about the intersections of gender, queerness, home, class, and desire.… There’s a friendly, easy cadence to her narration that matches her flowing prose, but there are also moments when her voice goes fraught, reflecting the struggles she writes about so openly. Filled with wonder, pain, self-discovery, and messy questions, this audiobook is a celebration and a reckoning, made all the more memorable thanks to Faliveno’s emotional performance." —Booklist 

"[A] winning debut collection…Readers who prefer to answer their questions about gender and sexuality with more questions will appreciate this perceptive meditation." Publishers Weekly (starred review) 

What listeners say about Tomboyland

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Embrace the Quirk

For anyone who loves a Wisconsinite and seeks the origin of their quirk, this collection of essays will give you insight. The writing is an honest telling of Midwest culture, queerness, and a personal acceptance of both.

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Don't miss this

if you are a human being open to the full range of your experience, and all the questions resultantthereof, this book is for you. yes, you. what a wonderful surprise, someone, and. of just anyone, wrote a book, just for you.

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Great book of essays

There are many topics covered in this book of essays. I really enjoyed getting to know the author through the stories. I identify with a lot she had to say, and I found myself listening every chance I got.

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I "used" to be a tomboy

Definitely hit home with me... a 46 year old, married, mother of two in the Midwest. I didn't challenge society's expectations... but I raised a daughter who is at age 15!

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That feeling when you don’t want it to end!

Amazing words with all the emotions running rampant! Thank you for writing this book, for telling us your stories and for giving us your all!
Melissa, you are wonderful, raw and real!
I enjoyed every second of this book!

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  • Niall
  • 09-24-20

Not what I thought it was

Its more of a guide of her area in tornado country, than the lgbt book I thought it'd be.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-14-21

Fascinating essay collection

Fantastic essay collection, brave and full of interesting questions about life, love and our place on stolen land.