Finding Nevo by Nevo Zisin
This is a remarkable coming-of-age story.
I will respectfully refer to the author as the non-binary singular “they”, which is their preference.
Nevo was assigned female gender at birth and wrestled with gender issues during childhood and adolescence. Their mother had desperately hoped for a girl and wanted to dress her child in typically “feminine” clothing, but from around the age of four, Nevo considered themself a boy.
The book examines the author’s difficulty fitting in when society divides us with such binary stereotypes. School presented some difficult issues. What uniform to wear? What toilet block to visit?
Bullying and body-shaming are issues for many teens, but for Nevo their situation made these issues even sharper. Despite that, strong friendships were formed and these have endured.
At the age of fifteen, Nevo came out to their family as a lesbian, developing a relationship with a woman. At seventeen they begin to transition to living as a man, starting with testosterone therapy.
Sometimes, life has been hard, but there has been much support from family, friends and community.
As time has gone on, Nevo has come to see themself as neither man nor woman, but simply as them. In their own words, ''I see myself as a mosaic of femininity and masculinity and complex thought and ability.”
This is a charming book, very personal and open. Nevo does not back away from sharing their feelings, both good and bad.
They share fears and anxieties honestly. The story is a glimpse into a life unfamiliar to many of us and a poignant chance to walk in another’s shoes and empathise with the struggles of someone else.
Now an adult, Nevo is a Jewish trans, feminist, queer activist and public speaker. I have heard them speak and their gentle, open manner is sincere and winning.
I really recommend this book. It’s a small publication and very easy to read. Although written with young adults in mind, it is appealing to a wide audience.
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Book review by Jacqui, one of our library team.
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