"Thomas Page McBee's "Man Alive" hurtled through my life. I read it in a matter of hours. It's a confession, it's a poem, it's a time warp, it's a brilliant work of art. I bow down to McBee--his humility, his sense of humor, his insightfulness, his structural deftness, his ability to put into words what is often said but rarely, with such visceral clarity and beauty, communicated."--Heidi Julavits, author of "The Vanishers" and "The Uses of Enchantment"
What does it really mean to be a man?
In "Man Alive," Thomas Page McBee attempts to answer that question by focusing on two of the men who most impacted his life&mash;one, his otherwise ordinary father who abused him as a child, and the other, a mugger who almost killed him. Standing at the brink of the life-changing decision to transition from female to male, McBee seeks to understand these examples of flawed manhood and tells us how a brush with violence sent him on the quest to untangle a sinister past, and freed him to become the man he was meant to be.
"Man Alive" engages an extraordinary personal story to tell a universal one--how we all struggle to create ourselves, and how this struggle often requires risks. Far from a transgender transition tell-all, "Man Alive" grapples with the larger questions of legacy and forgiveness, love and violence, agency and invisibility.
Praise for "Man Alive: "
""Man Alive" is a sweet, tender hurt of a memoir ... about forgiveness and self-discovery, but mostly it's about love, so much love. McBee takes us in his capable hands and shows us what it takes to become a man who is gloriously, gloriously alive."--Roxane Gay, author of "Bad Feminist" and "An Untamed State"
"Thomas Page McBee's story of how he came to claim both his past and his future is by turns despairing and hopeful, exceptional and relatable. To read it is to witness the birth of a fuller, truer self. I loved this book."--Ann Friedman, columnist, "New York Magazine"
"'Whoever's child I am, my body belongs to me, ' McBee writes, and his book is an elegant, generous transcription of the journey toward this incandescent, non-aggrandized, life-sustaining form of self-possession--the kind that emanates from dispossession, rather than running from it."--Maggie Nelson, author of "Bluets" and "The Art of Cruelty: A Reckoning"
"Exquisitely written and bristling with emotion, this important book reminds us of how much vulnerability and violence inheres to any identity. A real achievement of form and narrative."--Jack Halberstam, author of "The Queer Art of Failure"
About the Author:
Thomas Page McBee was the "masculinity expert" for "VICE" and writes the columns "Self-Made Man" for "The Rumpus" and "The American Man" for "Pacific Standard." His essays and reportage have appeared in the the "New York Times," TheAtlantic.com, "Salon," and "BuzzFeed," where he was a regular contributor on gender issues. He lives in New York City where he works as the editor of special projects at Quartz, and is currently at work on a book about modern American masculinity.