Man Alive: A True Story of Violence, Forgiveness and Becoming a Man

Beginning in 1985, as a young child, Thomas Page McBee began to be abused by his father. In April 2010, at 29, he and his love, Parker, were robbed at gunpoint by a man wearing a black hoodie. Theirs was one in a series of muggings in Oakland, Calif., whose victims were always a man and a woman. Other men wound up shot, so did McBee's voice strike his assailant "as reedy: womanly" (as it struck him) and save his life? These two pivotal encounters with male violence become the loci of the lean, sinewy memoir Man Alive.

McBee unfolds his transition into manhood by paying smart, lyrical attention to the blurring emotions surrounding his determination to embody a masculinity recognizable to both himself and society. Man Alive deemphasizes many of the medical details of being transgender in favor of considering the social and personal implications of gender expression, especially when the gender in question has been associated with so much hurt.

In many ways, this book occurs at the eye of McBee's storm, a crossroads, a major pivot point in his life. He exercises a profound level of compassion to reconcile his past with his present on behalf of his future. Through conversations with his girlfriend, his mother, siblings, father and extended family, one thing grows abundantly clear: Thomas Page McBee is a man of astonishingly strong character, full of empathy and dynamism. Man Alive isn't a simple memoir; it is a culmination of, as much as it is a springboard into, a manhood that proves to be in the greatest sense alive. --Dave Wheeler, publishing assistant, Shelf Awareness

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