Book Review — Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters

A whipsmart debut about three women–transgender and cisgender–whose lives collide after an unexpected pregnancy forces them to confront their deepest desires around gender, motherhood, and sex.

Reese almost had it all: a loving relationship with Amy, an apartment in New York City, a job she didn’t hate. She had scraped together what previous generations of trans women could only dream of: a life of mundane, bourgeois comforts. The only thing missing was a child. But then her girlfriend, Amy, detransitioned and became Ames, and everything fell apart. Now Reese is caught in a self-destructive pattern: avoiding her loneliness by sleeping with married men.

Ames isn’t happy either. He thought detransitioning to live as a man would make life easier, but that decision cost him his relationship with Reese–and losing her meant losing his only family. Even though their romance is over, he longs to find a way back to her. When Ames’s boss and lover, Katrina, reveals that she’s pregnant with his baby–and that she’s not sure whether she wants to keep it–Ames wonders if this is the chance he’s been waiting for. Could the three of them form some kind of unconventional family–and raise the baby together?

This provocative debut is about what happens at the emotional, messy, vulnerable corners of womanhood that platitudes and good intentions can’t reach. Torrey Peters brilliantly and fearlessly navigates the most dangerous taboos around gender, sex, and relationships, gifting us a thrillingly original, witty, and deeply moving novel.

4.5/5 stars rounded up on Goodreads

I cannot stop raving about this book. Right off the bat, this book captures you with its gorgeous and colorful book cover and of course the title. These characters grow on you– they are funny, sexy, smart, and beautifully and honestly messy. At the heart of this story you have the human desire to be accepted and seen in the world as you are; this is told through the complexity of gender identity, including the decision to transition or detransition, the complexity of racial identity for children of miscegenation, and the fears and joys of motherhood/parenthood. The author does this with care for these subjects and the characters experiencing them.

  • Complex characters who are called on their bullshit and call each other out on theirs.
  • This a beautiful story about motherhood and the importance of mother figures / chosen families that shines a light on how different family structures can look.
  • Open-ended ending that makes me want more, but at the same time — it was the perfect ending.

One Reply to “Book Review — Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters”

  1. I loved this book SO MUCH. And I agree with you about the ending. I find myself thinking often about what the characters might be up to now…. Good review.

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