ARC Review: Rethinking Normal by Katie Rain Hill

Book cover for Rethinking Normal by Katie Rain Hill.

I received a copy from The Bookshelf in exchange for an honest review.

Title: Rethinking Normal
Author: Katie Rain Hill
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Publication Date: September 30, 2014
Pages: 272
Stars: 3/5

Summary (from Goodreads): In her unique, generous, and affecting voice, nineteen-year-old Katie Hill shares her personal journey of undergoing gender reassignment.

Have you ever worried that you’d never be able to live up to your parents’ expectations? Have you ever imagined that life would be better if you were just invisible? Have you ever thought you would do anything–anything–to make the teasing stop? Katie Hill had and it nearly tore her apart.

Katie never felt comfortable in her own skin. She realized very young that a serious mistake had been made; she was a girl who had been born in the body of a boy. Suffocating under her peers’ bullying and the mounting pressure to be “normal,” Katie tried to take her life at the age of eight years old. After several other failed attempts, she finally understood that “Katie”–the girl trapped within her–was determined to live.

In this first-person account, Katie reflects on her pain-filled childhood and the events leading up to the life-changing decision to undergo gender reassignment as a teenager. She reveals the unique challenges she faced while unlearning how to be a boy and shares what it was like to navigate the dating world and experience heartbreak for the first time in a body that matched her gender identity. Told in an unwaveringly honest voice, Rethinking Normal is a coming-of-age story about transcending physical appearances and redefining the parameters of “normalcy” to embody one’s true self. 

Goodreads | Amazon

“What makes me female is something I felt in the core of myself: that my external body did not match up with how I felt inside, and that I was being seen by others as something I was not.” This quote from Rethinking Normal by Katie Rain Hill sums up the struggles that she experienced growing up as transgender perfectly. This memoir that she wrote about her life up until the time of publication is an inspiring tale of teen experiences, gender re-assignment surgery and raising awareness about transgender.

Katie states in her self-written memoir that she knew at the tender age of 2 that she was transgender, or that she was born a male yet identifies as a female. Her school years were filled with the typical experiences of a child that is bullied, however her friends were always there for her and stayed true, despite the judgements of others. Hill struggled with the fear of rejection, so kept her feelings bottled up.

Katie Rain Hill was born with the name of Luke before undergoing gender re-assignment surgery. The memoir tells of her decision to undergo the surgery and what it was like to change her identity. This narrative is quite articulate and gives the reader an understanding of what she went through.

Rethinking Normal is a wonderful discussion tool for teaching awareness about transgender issues. It is also an inspiring story for anyone, as it shows how one woman endured and fought to stand up for herself. This book is one to gain insight from!

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