“The Secrets of My Life” by Caitlyn Jenner— Reflecting on the Past, Looking to the Future

Jenner, Caitlyn. “The Secrets of My Life”, Grand Central Publishing, 2017.

Reflecting on the Past, Looking to the Future

Amos Lassen

I cannot think of a book that I would rather not read than Caitlyn Jenner’s memoir. After all, she is considered to be, in a sense, a Kardashian, a family that has become famous without a reason for doing so aside from the fact that the matriarch of the family, Kris Jenner, has pimped them out and we have forced to live with this bunch of “nothings”. As Bruce Jenner, there was an wonderful story of an internationally respected Olympian but as Caitlyn Jenner we get the story of a media whore who gender transition has been in the headlines since it took place. She was once “the personification of The American Male Athlete.”

“The Secrets of My Life” was written during her first years of becoming her authentic self-Caitlyn Jenner and in it she reflects on her past as she looks to her future. Becoming the patriarch of the Kardashian/Jenner gang brought Jenner even more fame (God knows why) and he was living a life of success, money and fame. However, we learned that Jenner had been struggling for most of his life with his gender identity. It wasn’t until the journalist Diane Sawyer interviewed him that the public Bruce Jenner was finally retired. It was through the “Vanity Fair” piece by Buzz Bissinger, that Caitlyn Jenner was introduced to the world and she was allowed to exist on her own terms. Since then, Caitlyn began an arduous emotional and physical odyssey to achieve what she felt had always been missing. It is just coincidence that this happened during the highpoints of Kardashian madness or, I must ask, was it planned that way?

Caitlyn shares the inner conflict she experienced growing up in an era of rigidly defined gender identities along with the cruel irony of being hailed by an entire nation as the ultimate symbol of manhood (I cannot help but wonder if that is really true). She tells of her Olympic triumph, her rise to fame. She also shares how her sense of frustration and shame was constantly growing with the passing years and the lengths to which she had to go to conceal who she felt she really was. We read of the personal struggles had on her three marriages and, her relationships with her children. She also talks candidly about her life in the public eye as a member of the Kardashian clan, what led to her decision to become Caitlyn, and how she, her family, the transgender community, and the rest of the world has since embraced her new life (I am not so sure that the rest of the world has embraced that new life).

Her book, like her life, has been filled with incredibly personal and moving stories of “struggle and victory, of anxiety and fear, and, finally, of surrender and acceptance”. There has been a lot of talk that Jenner underwent gender reassignment surgery but I will share nothing about that giving you a reason to buy the book and send a few more million dollars her way.

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