Burn the Page: A True Story of Torching Doubts, Blazing Trails, and Igniting Change

Viking. Apr. 2022. 320p. ISBN 9780593296554. $27. MEMOIR
Roem’s memoir—part–history of heavy metal, part-travelogue, part–campaign handbook, part–coming out story—depicts one politician’s fascinating climb to authenticity. In 2017, Roem became the first out transgender state legislator in U.S. history when she was elected to Virginia’s House of Delegates. Besides being trans, Roem was the most unlikely of politicians—her run for office followed a career in journalism, as a late-night college radio DJ, and as frontwoman of a heavy metal band; she wasn’t out as trans until she was nearly 30. Still, the Democrat became a voice of change by flipping a red seat in right-wing district. Roem writes that her career is proof that nothing—not alcohol abuse; a 1.1 GPA; being broke without health insurance—can stop someone from chasing their passion. Roem’s completely one-of-a-kind memoir draws from the opposition research dredged up by her political opponents (and by the opposition researchers she hired to investigate her own past, as part of her campaign prep). Roem has penned a memoir that’s a toolkit and a positive manifesto, in which seeing obstacles as opportunities, being unapologetically oneself, and trying for impractical dreams are the foundations of success.
VERDICT A must-read for fans of unlikely heroes, LGBTQ memoirs, humor, and, of course, heavy metal.
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