“Some Assembly Required: The Not-So-Secret Life of a Transgender Teen” by Arin Andrews— A Transgender Teen

some assembly required

Andrews, Arin. “Some Assembly Required: The Not-So-Secret Life of a Transgender Teen”, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2014.

A Transgender Teen

Amos Lassen

All of us have at some time felt uncomfortable as to who we are. Arin Andrews did also and when he was just seventeen he underwent gender reassignment while still in high school. He shares that with us in this poignant memoir. Seventeen-year-old Arin Andrews shares all the hilarious, painful, and poignant details of undergoing gender reassignment as a high school student in this winning memoir. We are taken on is journey from female to male while he was a junior in high school.

The first thing we learn is his decision he made that was going to change his life forever as he explains the challenges he faced as a girl, the humiliation and anger he felt after getting kicked out of his private school, and all the changes—both mental and physical—he experienced once his transition began. We are reminded that “self-acceptance does not come ready-made with a manual and spare parts. Rather, some assembly is always required.”

 Andrews was always happy to be called a tomboy as a child; even though his body was that of a female, he felt like a boy, and his mother’s insistence that he wear dresses and take part in pageants was painful. His first girlfriend, a lesbian, helped him become aware of the fluidity of gender and sexuality and realize that it wasn’t so bad to be different. His mother, however, his mother saw his girlfriend as a terrible influence and forbade her child from seeing her. Andrews became depressed and harbored suicidal thoughts. He was plagued with questions of who he was and why did he always feel out of place. Then he saw a video on YouTube video that introduced him to the idea of being transgender. With the help of a family therapist specializing in gender dysphoria and an adolescent LGBT support group, Andrews began the journey toward transition and taking on his true identity.

Now he has decided to write it all down and he does candidly and bravely. This is a nonfiction account from an actual transgender teen author and while the tone tends to be journalistic and not so personal, the book has a lot to say. The reader gets a sense of what being transgender really feels like and we admire Andrews’ determination to live he way he feels he should.

Andrews was named Emerald when he was born and at a very young age and was reborn into his true self, Arin. I have always had a rough time understanding transgender issues especially with regard to my own nephew who had been born as my niece.

Reading this book really opened my eyes as it discusses modern society and that we must learn to accept people who were born into a body that they feel is wrong. was a giant eye-opener into our modern society and how we can learn to accept people who were just born in the wrong body.

Arin does not hold anything back and he is an excellent writer at a very young age. It is his sincerity that makes this such an interesting and educational read.

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