Monday, August 21, 2017

The Secrets of My Life


Like millions of people around the world, from time to time (when no one is around to judge me) I tune in to Keeping Up With The Kardashians. I am not particularly invested, but I do enjoy watching them eat salads, complain about being famous and play out cheesy pranks and plots. It's mindless.

When Caitlyn Jenner released her memoir, The Secrets of My Life, I was intrigued. If ever anyone had a hook in her book it was Caitlyn. Few people have won an Olympic gold medal for decathlon, been an integral part of the commercialization of sports celebrity, married 3 powerful women, been involved in the OJ Simpson debacle, raised one of the world's biggest celebrities, fathered one of the world's biggest models, nurtured a group of siblings who have collectively broken the internet and transitioned.

Unfortunately, like Caitlyn's cancelled reality show I Am Cait, the book is just okay. Caitlyn comes across as somewhat self-absorbed and isn't really likable. The book is thin and doesn't offer much more than what you've probably seen on TV. It fails to really articulate gender dysphoria with any depth and barely outlines the real daily challenges of being a trans woman in enough detail for one to relate.

Caitlyn repeatedly refers to Bruce's white male privilege and acknowledges that it has protected her from many of the struggles, but it feels like an excuse to focus on the superficial - it is not really interrogated. I have read a far more interesting account of being a trans woman - Always Anastacia: A Transgender Life in South Africa by Anastacia Tomson and I highly recommend it.

If you're a huge fan of the Kardashians it's probably worth a read, if not don't rush to your bookstore for this one.

The Secrets of My Life by Caitlyn Jenner (Grand Central Publishing, 2017)