Marco Santucci recounts his experiences living with gender dysphoria and his transition from a woman to a man in this tell-all memoir.
Santucci began to feel uncomfortable with his gender as early as ten, but more so when he reached puberty. A self-proclaimed tomboy, he excelled at sports and rode a dirt bike. Although he dated boys, the author felt awkward and began questioning “what and who he was.”
In high school, he acquired an artificial penis and bound his breasts. Presenting himself as a boy during sex, he wore his shirt and underwear, telling sexual partners he had a birth defect that required surgery. (Inexplicably, the ploy worked.)
Santucci describes a maze of complicated relationships and identity reversals: Living as a man, he married a woman, then divorced and lived as a woman to “make my mom happy and proud.” He became pregnant with a casual acquaintance and then married again, bearing three children from another man. After that marriage dissolved, in 2006, he began transitioning into a man in earnest, undergoing a double mastectomy and then a metoidioplasty (surgery to construct a penis and testicular prostheses). He married his partner Pam, who helped him through his transition.
This is rich emotional territory, but the author’s writing is flat, reading more like a list of events than an artful narrative. His convoluted relationships are dizzying, and the many gratuitous, graphic details of his prolific sex life can be off-putting. Grammatical errors and occasional misspellings further detract.
Santucci also seems to lack self-awareness, as he professes puzzlement regarding “those that decide one day to be male, and the next day female.” He criticizes the LGBTQ labels— “These kinds of people have always existed, they just didn’t make such a big deal about it”—but his discussion of this is convoluted and confusing.
As such, the memoir isn’t likely to appeal to general readers. Still, those with gender dysphoria or who seek knowledge of the transgender community might find elements of interest here.