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Something That May Shock and Discredit You by Daniel Mallory Ortberg

Something That May Shock and Discredit You by Daniel Mallory Ortberg

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From the publisher:

A New York Times bestselling feminist author’s sparkling memoir of gender transition (among many other things).

Reasons for Transitioning: Want to impress good-looking ex; Want to upset good-looking ex; Bored of existing wardrobe, looking for excuse to buy all-new clothes that don’t fit in a new way; Younger siblings getting too much attention; Neoliberalism??; Want to sing both parts of a duet at karaoke; Something about upper-body strength; Excited to reinforce a different set of sexist stereotypes; Cheaper haircuts; Just love layering shirts ...

From the beloved writer behind The Toast and Slate’s ‘Dear Prudence’ column comes a personal essay collection exploring popular culture, literature, religion, and sexuality. With wit and compassion, Daniel Mallory Ortberg revisits beloved cultural and literary figures in the light of his transition.


‘At last, we have the work of transgender bathos we didn’t know we needed, but very much do … Ortberg’s narrative is anything but linear: It skips back in time to mythic Greece, traipses across the landscape of contemporary pop culture and, in one wonderfully fabulist entry that would make Carmen Maria Machado proud, slips outside of time altogether … One of our smartest, most inventive humour writers, Ortberg combines bathos and the devotional into a revelation … By broadening what transgender memoir can do, the author is in good company with Viviane Namaste, who decades ago diagnosed autobiography as ‘the only discourse in which transsexuals are permitted to speak.’ Ortberg partakes of neither the damaging trope of tragic transness nor the sentimental sanctimony that we are “permitted,” offering instead the comic and the transcendent.’


Slate advice columnist Ortberg (Texts from Jane Eyre) brings the full force of his wit and literary depth to this genre-bending essay collection. Describing it as ‘memoir-adjacent,’ Ortberg intersperses searingly honest passages about his journey as a transgender man with laugh-out-loud funny literary pastiche ... Ortberg provides an often hilarious, sometimes discomfiting, but invariably honest account of one man’s becoming.’