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Annabel is a red-head named Wayne.

April 29, 2011

Well. I have failed at my new reading strategy so far. Which is heart-breaking for me, because that means I have been rushing through this Annabel book far faster than I think I should. Oh, Leo Tolstoy – why does the beginning of your novel not intrigue me more? Perhaps I should switch to Ulysses.

I realized today, as I was driving home from the book store where I met for coffee with a friend and spent more money on books that I won’t have time to read for quite some time, that I had not yet written about this book.

Which is sad, because this book is quite a fantastic read. And it is transformative – it may actually be one of the better novels I have read this year (and, if you’ve seen the list of books I have read this year, there really are none on that list that are bad). I should admit that, as a young gay man, this book’s attempt to walk in the divide of gender existence has really intrigued me – I have been able to relate to it far better than I anticipated.

I am all of 100 pages away from the end of the novel, and the most recent 100 that I have read have easily been the best that the book has offered thus far. It is heart-breaking absolutely; there is no reason to be joyful. But the characters are transforming into something beautiful and not beautiful at the same time.

The edition that I have includes a small set of questions that you can theoretically discuss in a book club. I only read the first one, and I thought it was rather presumptuous when I first came across it before opening the book. “How is Wayne a litmus test for the humanity of others in the novel? How does he challenge their preconceptions?”

This question is everything that the book is about – and it succeeds absolutely in what it is doing.

If my position in 100 pages is the same as it is now, I am going to very strongly recommend that you read this book – with some reservations (to be explained in the nearish future). If it is not, I will have some explaining to do.

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