> Book Review: A Girlhood: A Letter to my Transgender Daughter – Carolyn Hays - SNACK: Music, film, arts and culture magazine for Scotland

Book Review: A Girlhood: A Letter to my Transgender Daughter – Carolyn Hays


A Girlhood, although incredibly intimate, is widely universal, opening up questions of authenticity, motherhood, and parent-child relationships. It’s also a parent’s love letter to a daughter who has always known precisely who she is; a girl. The book is life-affirming and brings joy as well as compassion to this life-altering tale, which outlines the pain and suffering transgender children experience when their gender identity is not respected or acknowledged.


A Girlhood is grounded in the Bible Belt of the American South, and a cataclysm strikes the door of this family that causes them to move. A caseworker from the Department of Children and Families explores a complaint that the family are encouraging their transgender daughter to explore her identity. This threat instigates the family to move out of the area, but they are always within reaching distance of curiosity, hate and wonder.

This book, written under a pseudonym, is a stunning and insightful piece of work that asks us all to love better, with comprehensive reasoning and staggering facts about how recent policies in some states in the US have been worsening trans rights. Comparable to works by activists such as Rebecca Solnit, author of Hope in the Dark, this book is not just a love letter but a call to action, a plea for empathy and a better future. I would be incredibly surprised if this title doesn’t pick up a few awards in 2023; it’s one to watch out for.


A Girlhood: A Letter to my Transgender Daughter is out 19th January via Picador

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