Review: A Queer and Pleasant Danger by Kate Bornstein
Title: A Queer and Pleasant Danger: The True Story of a Nice Jewish Boy Who Joins the Church of Scientology and Leaves Twelve Years Later to Become the Lovely Lady She is Today
Author: Bornstein, Kate
Length: 280 pages
Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir, GLBTQ
Publisher / Year: Beacon Press / 2012
Source: From the publisher at Book Expo America 2012.
Why I Read It: I have a bit of a crush on Kate Bornstein… But really, who doesn’t?
Date Read: 29/06/12
I’m not sure how much I can say about this book without just fangirling all over it. Incredibly personal and revealing, Bornstein takes us along with her through her early years as a Jewish boy in New Jersey, to years in the Church of Scientology – including on the flagship vessel, to becoming the trans activist and inspiration that she is today.
Throughout, Bornstein shares her struggles to be honest, even going so far as to have ‘I must not tell lies’ tattooed on the back of her hand, aiming to give her daughter and grandchildren something to learn about her through if ever they look her up. She gives an unflinching account of her experiences with her gender and sexuality, and attempts to live what she considered a ‘normal’ life, with marriage and kids and a steady job.
Winding back and forth through different periods of her life, the book doesn’t follow a straight narrative, but yet is easy to follow. Starting roughly with her entry into the Church of Scientology, she then moves forward, including many flashbacks to explain life up to that point. The method worked to keep it all relevant and flowing, mixing bits of information from the current time in the narrative with related points in the past. Certainly a very readable and engaging way to tell the story, as it felt like memory would, a bit meandering but staying mostly on topic and on track.
Highly recommended to all who are interested in religion, in family, in gender, in sexuality, or just in life itself. Bornstein truly has much to teach us all.