LITERATURE

Tomboyland

Topple: Little A. Aug. 2020. 268p. ISBN 9781542014182. pap. $14.95. LIT
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Reading a memoir is like meeting someone for the first time, the opportunity to make a new friend. Encountering Faliveno (creative writing, Sarah Lawrence Coll.) is a pleasure. Here, we learn the author is from Wisconsin but seemingly not of it, has been a jock, into BDSM, maybe a rageaholic. She is also a sensitive commentator on the topsy-turvy world of the gender systems she grew up in and an exquisite self-analyst of her own androgyny. In eight longish personal essays, she reflects on relationships with lovers, coaches, and family members. A piece on softball offers a classic examination of how sports interact with gender, class, and sexuality. Faliveno further contemplates her ten years living in New York but focuses more on her coming of age in the Midwest, in writing with a quality of cinematic vividness.
VERDICT Readers of all kinds will wish to sit down with this tomboy, not just those interested in issues of androgyny. Recommended.

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