Her Story is a book club that meets on the first Wednesday of every month to discuss books by women, about women. This month we're reading Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters.
Reese almost had it all: a loving relationship with Amy, an apartment in New York City, a job she didn’t hate. She had scraped together what previous generations of trans women could only dream of: a life of mundane, bourgeois comforts. The only thing missing was a child. But then her girlfriend, Amy, detransitioned and became Ames, and everything fell apart. Now Reese is caught in a self-destructive pattern: avoiding her loneliness by sleeping with married men.
Ames isn’t happy either. He thought detransitioning to live as a man would make life easier, but that decision cost him his relationship with Reese–and losing her meant losing his only family. Even though their romance is over, he longs to find a way back to her. When Ames’s boss and lover, Katrina, reveals that she’s pregnant with his baby–and that she’s not sure whether she wants to keep it–Ames wonders if this is the chance he’s been waiting for. Could the three of them form some kind of unconventional family–and raise the baby together?
This provocative debut is about what happens at the emotional, messy, vulnerable corners of womanhood that platitudes and good intentions can’t reach. Torrey Peters brilliantly and fearlessly navigates the most dangerous taboos around gender, sex, and relationships, gifting us a thrillingly original, witty, and deeply moving novel.
Torrey Peters Goes There: The author’s debut novel, Detransition Baby, wades into two of the most vulnerable questions for trans women. — Vulture
Smart, funny, and bighearted. . . . A wonderfully original exploration of desire and the evolving shape of family [and] . . . a dishy contemporary drama. ― Kirkus starred review
A visceral, funny exploration of sex and gender through a triad of people – trans and cis -rocked by an unexpected pregnancy ― Vanity Fair
Detransition, Baby is, simply put, fantastic. But somehow even the most complimentary adjectives feel insufficient to describe Torrey Peters’ first novel, as they cannot adequately capture the experience of spending time with her characters, who are so fully realized and complex that the truth seeps out of them from the first page. Devastating, hilarious, touching, timely, and studded with fun pop culture celebrity cameos, this is an acutely intelligent story — Bookpage
[Detransition Baby]’s warmth and wit feel both familiar and utterly new: a tale of love, loss, and self-discovery as singular as it is universal, and all the sweeter for it – Entertainment Weekly
Peters soap-opera meets-modern-cultural-analysis is witty, emotional, and eye opening – People
This provocative and modern love story navigates taboos around sex, gender, identity and relationships and is surely one story you won’t want to put down – CNN
A tender and bold exploration of gender, parenthood and love – TIME
In this electrifying debut…Peters leans all the way into the tragicomedy of how families and identities are formed, making for a deeply searching novel that resists easy answers —Esquire
Fleishman is in Trouble meets Transparent in this eye-opening, gender-bending exploration of parenthood. ― Oprah Magazine
That rare social comedy in which the author cuts people up not to judge them, but to show how we fail to fit together – LA Times
Detransition, Baby updates and transcends (trans-scends!) the Sex and the City model, while fully delivering its many satisfactions! … A noteworthy advance in the history of the novel! — Elif Batuman
So smart, funny & sad about human nature & all our longings, hypocrisy, shame & sweetness. And it’s fearlessly thought-provoking about gender. Such a literary feat & also such a great read. – Curtis Sittenfeld
Detransition, Baby is emotionally generous, richly textured, and deeply intelligent – a vibrant and kaleidoscopic portrait of complicated women and their colliding lives. — Claire Lombardo, New York Times-bestselling author of The Most Fun We Ever Had
Riveting, insightful, and very funny … an unforgettable portrait of three women, trans and cis, who wrestle with questions of motherhood and family-making. Destined to be a 21st century classic, Detransition, Baby will definitely keep you up late and might destroy your book club, but in a good way. — Andrea Lawlor, author of Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl
Torrey Peters just took everything that couldn’t be done, and did it … Plenty of books are good; this book is alive. — Jordy Rosenberg, author of Confessions of the Fox
Writing with alarming insight, Torrey Peters captures the grandiose, heartfelt and sometimes mangled aspirations of queer and trans people facing an unprecedented array of personal choice. By showing how gender transition (like divorce, or any transformative life event) can be simultaneously destabilizing and liberating, Peters makes trans culture relatable to all. A voraciously knowing, compulsively readable novel. — Chris Kraus, author of I Love Dick
I love Detransition, Baby for its wit, its irreverence. And I love it even more for its reverence-its reverence for the quest for womanhood, motherhood, selfhood. Torrey Peters evokes these characters with such fullness and compassion that they felt like dear friends to me. This is an important book, and I couldn’t put it down. — Helen Philips, author of The Need
Torrey Peters is the author of the novel Detransition, Baby, published by One World, which won the 2021 PEN/Hemingway award for debut fiction. It was also a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Awards, a finalist for the Brooklyn Public Library Award, and was longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction.
A collection of four novellas, titled Infect Your Friends and Loved Ones, will be published by Random House in 2023.
She has an MFA from the University of Iowa and a Masters in Comparative Literature from Dartmouth. Torrey rides a pink motorcycle and splits her time between Brooklyn and an off-grid cabin in Vermont.