Saturday, August 06, 2016

The Danish Girl by David Ebershoff

This isn't review because I'm not sure how to go about writing a review for a book like this. This is just a gathering of the thoughts I had upon reading The Danish Girl, which to be honest is a lot like the reviews I already do write but I'm not comfortable with calling it a formal review. I don't want to write a review of this because it's a touchy subject that everyone had their own opinion of and I know a review is supposed to be an opinion. These are my opinions and thoughts but I can't give this book a review because it's going to be so different for everyone. This book is an experience in itself and you can't review an experience. I did think that it deserved it's very own blog post though.

I found this so interesting to read, I never really had that deep of an understanding of transgender or intersex or the gender fluid. I just really feel solid in my body and my sex. It was something I knew happened and I knew there was nothing wrong with it but I hadn't thought much further than that. Now though, I feel that I have a deeper understand after being put in the shoes of Lili/Einar and Greta. I obviously don't believe that is how it is for everyone because everyone is on different paths and different journeys in self discovery but I had never actually thought of it like two different people. I had always thought of it like one person who knew they were in the wrong body which I assume is the case for some but it was enlightening to learn that it isn't the case for all.

I loved Greta and her part in the book is so important. Not only should we be stepping into Einar and Lili's shoes but Greta's as the woman who loves them both so dearly because it isn't just Einar and Lili, it's Greta as well. It's never something I'd ever cared to think about but now my heart aches so dearly for her, what do you do when the man you fell in love with is becoming a completely different person? I have no idea what I'd do. I know for a fact that I would never be able to handle it with such grace as Greta did. I'd probably be angry, actually scratch that, I would be angry. I'd be devastated, it sounds horribly selfish and horribly unfair but it's the way it is. Towards the end I think Greta had trouble letting go of the people she loved so so much who had now become only one which was completely understandable. I think Greta handled it so beautifully and I think she deserves a big hug.

It was so cool that is was based of real people too, I really recommend you go check out the real Lili Elbe and her story because it is different than the book and more tragic. Although I do like that the ending is slightly different because the book left me with an impression of hope for Greta and Lili to move on while still, of course, remembering Einar. Also hope that they can now go on and live their lives and everything's going to be okay. Hope again for those also struggling with their gender identity.

As I said before, definitely check out the real story of Lili Elbe, I think it's important to understand. And for an even deeper understanding, read the book. It's the first fiction book I've read on the topic and now I think I'll be on the hunt for more like it. Anyway, let me know your thoughts in the comments.

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