28 Jul 2014


What do you do when everybody says you’re someone you’re not?
Alex wants change. Massive change. More radical than you could imagine. 

Her mother is not happy, in fact she’s imploding. Her dad walked out. Alex has turned vegetarian, ditched one school, enrolled in another, thrown out her clothes. And created a new identity. An identity that changes her world.

And Alex—the other Alex—has a lot to say about it. 

Alex As Well is a confronting and heartfelt story of adolescent experience—of questioning identity, discovering sexuality, navigating friendships and finding a place to belong. Alex is a strong, vulnerable, confident, shy and determined character, one you will never forget.

Alex doesn't believe he is a boy. He's not always sure that he is a girl either - but for the purpose of this review I'll refer to Alex as a girl. The book opens with Alex at a make-up counter, allowing herself to get a make-over. It's so interesting how this part is written. It's not obvious at first what gender Alex is and my brain tried to pick up keys in the text to find out if Alex is actually a boy or a girl, because this is what we are programmed to do. It is this programming that the book explores and you do find yourself wondering what you would do if you were Alex or Alex's parents.

Alex As Well does exactly what a good book should do - it puts you in someone else's shoes. Live as Alex for a few days and understand exactly how precarious our ideas of gender are. I could understand her Mother's reaction. There must be a certain amount of denial and bewilderment and social pressure. I understand this, I don't condone it. For Alex, I sympathise. How many of us have wished we were someone else? Imagine if you believed you were someone else and had the guts to make that huge change to your life. The most frustrating part of the book is that Alex's parents knew that this day would come.
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