The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson

The Art of Being Normal

Lisa Williamson

This novel asks you to imagine what it would be like to assert your authentic identity, both as an adolescent and an outsider with mistaken gender assignment. Wry humour, realistic dialogue and an upbeat ending counteract this painful account of the bullying, prejudice and isolation encountered by transgender children. It also provides useful insight on current diversity issues, challenging assumptions of what it is to be ‘normal'.


I swallow. Because here it is; my opportunity to come out with it. Six little words: I. Want. To. Be. A. Girl. But they don’t come out. They stay stubbornly lodged in my throat, choking me into silence. Because the thing Mum is trying to get me to tell her isn’t what she’s been preparing herself for. Because Mum is expecting me to tell her I am gay. I suspect she’s been working up to this moment for years; ever since I requested my first Barbie for Christmas, tore around the house in my first pair of fairy wings, wrapped a towel around my head and pretended it was a mane of long hair... But she and Dad have got the signals all wrong, just like Leo got it wrong in the canteen the other day. Because I’m not gay. I’m just a straight girl stuck in a boy’s body.

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