Review Blog

Jul 19 2017

Finding Nevo by Nevo Zisin

cover image

Black Dog Books, 2017. ISBN 9781925381184
(Age: 12+) Highly recommended. Sexuality, Coming out, Trans gender. In a society where male and female roles are delineated, someone growing up knowing they fit neither one nor the other will be highly confused and disorientated. So it is with Nevo.
This introspective memoir is an outstanding contribution to any discussion about transitioning, a book about someone who feels at odds with the gender roles of the society in which they live.
Nevo, a bright Melbournite is born female but always feels more at home in boy's clothes. In primary school Nevo hangs about with girls, and at high school comes out as a lesbian. But they never feel at ease. The Jewish high school is supportive to those who feel different, espousing a Safe Schools program, suggesting they join a group to develop leadership skills. Nevo feels like an outsider until meeting a girl who challenges these feelings, joining Nevo along their journey.
Nevo's confusion continues all through teenage years, leading to a decision to transition when eighteen, beginning with taking testosterone and eventually surgery for breast removal. Nevo's candid exploration of the way they feel is incredible, ensuring any reader will feel empathy not only with Nevo but others who feel confused about their sexuality.
All the confusion about growing up is there: coping with a blended family, sibling rivalry, gender politics, getting on with groups at school, mental health and bullying, but overlaid with a momentous confusion about your sexuality, makes this is a gripping read.
At a time when right wing pundits are questioning the Safe Schools program, this book offers the strongest of reason for the program to be available, underscoring the value of teens seeing that they are not alone.
And Nevo makes clear the lack of role models, the lack of these people seen in our society: the press, television and books rarely have anyone gay, let alone trans, and this makes people feel more marginalised.
If this book supports those going along the same path as Nevo and helps others empathise with those going through this process, then it has done its job. And done it well.
A glossary of terms is followed by a list of resources, particularly online, where people can find support and help.
Fran Knight

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