Transitions: A Mother’s Journey

Top Shelf Productions. Nov. 2023. 176p. tr. from French by Evan McGorray. ISBN 9781603095181. pap. $19.99. BIOG
When 19-year-old Lucie announces he’s a boy named Alex (real people given fictional names), most of his family simply rolls with it. But Alex’s mother Anne, a university biologist, feels devastated. Ignorant about trans and nonbinary identities, Anne struggles painfully, yet finally successfully, through her own transition to acceptance by learning all the data she can gather as a scientist. Indeed, eye-opening details from biology and anthropology surprise her. French creator Durand (Parenthesis) intercuts Anne’s journey with glimpses of Alex’s life and with lyrical, colorful images based on voguing-style dance to celebrate a spectrum of lives. This contrasts with inky tendrils overwhelming the initially traumatized mother who fears losing her child forever. Durand’s simple, realistic art holds mostly to blacks and solids, but Anne’s hair stands out in fiery fuchsia. Diagrams, notes, and references appear throughout, with an English-language resource list included at the end of the book.
VERDICT Anne’s family and acquaintances model a range of responses to a trans relative’s coming out, illustrating common difficulties while showing that acceptance and joy become possible with care and diligence. An excellent graphic novel and resource for families and others who experience the unexpected transition of a loved one.
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