Sunday, March 9, 2014

For Today I am a Boy

by Kim Fu
February 16-March 2, 2014

Peter, the third of four children, is a boy, a coveted one, by his traditional Chinese father. After two girls, Peter finally arrives. Testing his luck, Peter's father decides to try for another boy, only to have a third girl. And the biggest problem is that Peter wishes he were a girl. Only he can't properly define these feelings, instead worshipping his sisters in every way, even wearing their clothes and makeup.

And thus the promising basis for a quick, thought-provoking read. At only 261 pages, Kim Fu has her work cut out for her. For the sake of character development, I think we would have been better off had she added about another 100 pages. Peter's sisters each have dedicated chapters in the book, as do other random characters, but their stories didn't succeed in enhancing the theme, only questioning their relevance.

"If I had to name this thing I was born with, I would've called it misery."

I can't begin to understand the gender confusion that Peter struggles with. But his journey has the potential for such a thought-provoking narrative, which unfortunately (mostly) failed in my eyes. The book was just a little too disjointed and not fully realized. But Fu is a young author whose writing style has plenty of promise. Better luck for her sophomore novel.

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