Sunday, September 18, 2011

Self-Made Man

Another book I found at the bookstore of mom is "Self-Made Man: One Woman's Year Disguised as a Man" (287 pages) by Norah Vincent. Where does she get all these books? From Goodreads:

"Following in the tradition of John Howard Griffin (Black Like Me) and Barbara Ehrenreich (Nickel and Dimed), Norah Vincent absorbed a cultural experience and reported back on what she observed incognito. For more than a year and a half she ventured into the world as Ned, with an ever-present five o'clock shadow, a crew cut, wire-rim glasses, and her own size 111/2 shoes-a perfect disguise that enabled her to observe the world of men as an insider. The result is a sympathetic, shrewd, and thrilling tour de force of immersion journalism that's destined to challenge preconceptions and attract enormous attention.

With her buddies on the bowling league she enjoyed the rough and rewarding embrace of male camaraderie undetectable to an outsider. A stint in a high-octane sales job taught her the gut- wrenching pressures endured by men who would do anything to succeed. She frequented sex clubs, dated women hungry for love but bitter about men, and infiltrated all- male communities as hermetically sealed as a men's therapy group, and even a monastery. Narrated in her utterly captivating prose style and with exquisite insight, humor, empathy, nuance, and at great personal cost, Norah uses her intimate firsthand experience to explore the many remarkable mysteries of gender identity as well as who men are apart from and in relation to women. Far from becoming bitter or outraged, Vincent ended her journey astounded-and exhausted-by the rigid codes and rituals of masculinity. Having gone where no woman (who wasn't an aspiring or actual transsexual) has gone for any significant length of time, let alone eighteen months, Norah Vincent's surprising account is an enthralling reading experience and a revelatory piece of anecdotally based gender analysis that is sure to spark fierce and fascinating conversation."

A very interesting read from an author I knew nothing about just a few days ago. While I find some of Vincent's generalizations about men to be off target at times, she more than makes up with it with a very adept writing style laced with humor, humiliation, and tons of wit. Then again what do I know? Obviously the gay male is a whole other animal from the predominately blue collar dudes she was infiltrating. Recommended.

1 comment:

MinorityReport said...

Looks interesting. I'll have to keep an eye out for it next time I go to the book store.