Book Reviews

Review: Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters

I’ve been seeing Detransition, Baby all over the place. So when Victoria Lee recommended it to me for the 12 Authors 12 Books project I was overjoyed. It’s like how sometimes you just need a little push. Do you ever feel that too? Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.


Reese almost had it all: a loving relationship with Amy, an apartment in New York City, a job she didn’t hate. She had scraped together what previous generations of trans women could only dream of: a life of mundane, bourgeois comforts. The only thing missing was a child. But then her girlfriend, Amy, detransitioned and became Ames, and everything fell apart. Now Reese is caught in a self-destructive pattern: avoiding her loneliness by sleeping with married men.

Ames isn’t happy either. He thought detransitioning to live as a man would make life easier, but that decision cost him his relationship with Reese—and losing her meant losing his only family. Even though their romance is over, he longs to find a way back to her. When Ames’s boss and lover, Katrina, reveals that she’s pregnant with his baby—and that she’s not sure whether she wants to keep it—Ames wonders if this is the chance he’s been waiting for. Could the three of them form some kind of unconventional family—and raise the baby together?


TW: outting, deadnaming, transphobia, abuse

Detransition, Baby is a debut driven by characters. Peters pulls apart the lives of Ames and Reese. I found myself simultaneously feeling like I was wrapped up in how utterly readable it felt, while also wanting to take breaks to just absorb. The character narration of Ames and Reese feels almost like a friend of yours is sharing a memory. At the same time, there are moments and quotes I had to highlight and spend the evening thinking about.

Detransition, Baby explores facets of identity, constancy, and gender. How we can assume that our identities, that our genders, stay concrete. And yet how even now we can exist in these liminal gray spaces between. By jumping around in time, Detransition, Baby stresses change, our journey as a process – not a destination – and love. It opens up conversations about what we define ourselves in relation to. When we love someone, do we deserve to know their entire history? All pieces of who they were before?

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It creates conversations about socialization, about learning from those who came before, and of motherhood. The moments in history and memories provide insight into each other, the pieces of who they were and how it influences who they are now. All the moments of performances of being, of doing, and acting. If you weren’t sure if you should pick this one up, take this as your sign to pick it up. Detransition, Baby features flawed, complex, and empathetic characters. People who lash out in pain, make mistakes in fear, and doubt. It’s a book that generates not only conversations, but contemplation.

Find Detransition, Baby on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, & The Book Depository.


What is the last queer adult fiction read you read?

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