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The ordinary and the extraordinary mix in this excruciatingly intimate, and at times triumphant and funny book which tells a profoundly moving story, custom built for our times. Anne M Reid had the perfect life with her perfect partner. She and Paul had been together for 12 years, married with three beautiful children, when one night, without warning, Paul admits to a life-long feeling of disconnection with his body, only recently understanding why: as a young child, he had wanted to be a girl. The book explores the anguish Anne feels as Paul begins transitioning to Paula, and all the confusion, bewilderment and social stigma surrounding a gender transition. Paula not only crossed the gender divide, but now had different likes and dislikes, and a different take on the world. The husband Anne knew disappeared from the world. How does she cope? How does she manage what is now a same sex relationship? How do the children adapt to two mothers? At times this is an incredibly emotional book. Anne lets fly with feelings of anger, betrayal, sadness, despair and loneliness. As Paula expressed disdain for any photographs or reminders of her earlier times as a male, Anne begins to wonder if her marriage had been some elaborate lie. Even happy times in the past are now tinged with sadness. Yet Anne also manages compassion and understanding. Despite all the fallout, Anne and Paula remain together. And there’s humour, for example, when the kids are deciding what to call the new ‘Paula’. This book is written from the unique perspective of a partner of a transitioning person. It’s a matter-of-fact, day-to-day account of what really goes on in a transitioning household. And it’s told by an author who is comfortable with describing her deepest emotions, fears and anxiety. You befriend the author at an intimate,emotional level. Paula has penned some chapters to explain her desperate need to transition, and the process that took place from her perspective. For Anne, writing She Said, She Said was a cathartic exercise. It helped her keep sane in the face of massive change she never anticipated. The book includes a section on the phenomenon of gender dysphoria and transitioning which Anne researched to enhance her own understanding. She Said, She Said offers unique insights not only to those who find themselves wearing Anne’s shoes, but to anyone curious about gender dysphoria and its impact on a family.
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