BIOGRAPHY

Fairest

Viking. May 2020. 320p. ISBN 9780525561309. $27. MEMOIR
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Even for avid readers of memoirs, Talusan’s (journalist and founding executive editor of them., Condé Nast’s LGBTQ digital platform) debut will stand out from the crowd, not only because of the author’s unique experiences, but also because she presents them with a rare, frank vulnerability. In the first part of the book, Talusan explores her childhood in the Philippines, and how her albinism and family dynamics affected her upbringing. Later, she becomes a student at Harvard, navigating a new environment while exploring her sexuality and grappling with the complexities of her racial identity. Lastly, in perhaps the most compelling part of the book, readers follow her journey and relationships after college, which ultimately led to her gender transition.
VERDICT Gender, race, and sexuality are all foremost themes throughout the book, and it is a notable read for those particularly interested in these topics. However, Talusan’s account also offers an intensely personal example of how one’s relation to oneself changes over time, shaped by circumstances and personal choices, making it a compelling story for a wide variety of readers.

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