Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Almost Perfect by Brian Katcher

Logan lives in small town Missouri, he’s a senior and headed to college the next year. Basically he spends his time brooding about his recent breakup. So Logan is pleasantly wowed when a new girl moves to town. Sage is tall, interesting, funny, and beautiful. She’s also got a secret that is going to change his life forever. Sage, beautiful, feminine, utterly charming Sage, had the misfortune of being born a boy.

The story is told from Logan's perspective and I think his voice is a great strength of this book. It seemed completely real. It seemed like everything actually happened and the author was just pulling things verbatim out of some boy’s brain. I believed it when Logan fell for Sage, I believed his uncertainty and frustration when he thought her parents were weird and probably abusive, and I sure as heck believed him when he was blind with rage and shame when he found out the truth. The range of emotion, the confusion, the navigation through a new world of sexual complexity was fantastically written. Does it make him gay? Is Sage truly a girl or guy? Does Logan care if she is? The depth of writing was sensitive without being pedantic or insulting to the reader.

Occasionally I felt like I was in health class getting a textbook explanation like when Sage and Logan discuss her transgendered nature and how hormone therapy works. Important information to convey, but perhaps a bit much when inserted directly into dialogue. Would it have been better if Logan read a brochure? I don’t know. And truthfully, it didn’t distract me too much – perhaps a teen wouldn’t even be bothered.

The book offered a range of reactions toward Sage. From family members who were divided between love and acceptance and deeply concerned with protection to others who were ashamed and wanted to have her committed. All in all, I thought it was a powerful portrayal of what a transgendered teen and his/her family and intimate friends might go through.

Book Source: Review Copy


Bibliovore said...

I'm a little unsure about whether I'll like this book or not. I had to give up on Katcher's first, Playing with Matches, because I grew to hate the MC so much. I still want to read this one because it's such a provocative premise.

Patti said...

I wouldn't say the writing was spectacular, but I do think that Logan's voice was so strong and real that it bumped this into a really good book.

I really believed in Logan. He seemed like a real person.