Im can't decide if:
goes first, or after.
The thing about this book is that while a lot of the main character, Maria's, life is lifted from iphisol's life while I knew her-- like, working at a grungy book store, smuggling booze into horror movies, getting food at Kellogg's, we've done that together even!-- I feel like mostly I'd end up being friends with Maria's ex-girlfriend, Steph? I guess that says a lot about, like, my role as a supporting cast member of capitalist culture, or whatever, privilege or something, but probably not that much. I just feel like she's less likely to, say, steal my car. Which, right, is a friendship perk. Which is me sort of saying, I don't really have a thesis about this book? Because obviously it would be stupid to try to read it as some over-arching statement about being trans, except maybe that is the statement that the book is making? That having a story about a trans character shouldn't be some effort to tell a univeralizable "trans experience" truth, but maybe should be about people, because trans people are people.
Except that shouldn't need to be said & it isn't like Imogen has written this book as a polemic. Just that-- right-- by not being moralizing, it sort of underscores the fact that you might expect a story like this to be some kind of dialectic. Actually, now that I think about it, it totally fakes out that dialectic angle, hard, so I guess you could say that is the thesis; that your stupid thesis is stupid, & that you should chill out on you expectations & let characters be characters instead of rhetorical devices. & Maria's own internal monologue is mostly her digesting & dissecting gender & patriarchy & how assumptions & anxiety co-mingle into a cocktail of confusion. But mostly on how talking about all that stuff is stupid, but just because it is stupid doesn't mean you get to ignore it (unless you are a straight white middle class cisgender man who has the privilege of that, but then even if you aren't you probably have little pieces of privilege that you need to pick apart, & if you are that privileged dude you don't deserve awards for just "failing to be awful" so get off your butt & help).
You know how the last episode of Angel is kind of controversial? Like, it all ends with them in an alley, ground down to nubs, gearing up for yet another end of the world battle royale? & some people complained that there wasn't any closure, any resolution or truly final Armageddon...while everybody else said, "duh, exactly, that is the point." As much as Buffy was a meditation on being a teenager, Angel was about being an adult, & the point of the finale is you have to keep going. You keep on living. There is no end to the fight. It keeps going. That is pretty much how Nevada ends. Sometimes stories just don't end, & in a story about being trans, where the usual cultural message is all about crossing some rubicon, whether it is coming out or getting surgery or whatever, (or that life ends, suddenly & violently, which is all to prevalent a fate for trans characters, & how messed up is that, that transgender characters are largely just plot points, props, & not even characters in the least) the notion that life goes on is pretty punk rock.