RaveThe Washington PostWe may know some facts of this story, but what we cannot know as an abstract fact — what we can only feel through Manning’s unfurling of narrative detail — is the texture of her choices ... An insider confessional turned inside out for the 21st century ... Manning is canny in her refusal to simply embrace the confessional mode often demanded of trans writers and whistleblowers alike ... Non-confession is an apt approach to this American feint, whereby imperial aggression is alternately cloistered and flaunted at will. And anyway, what other kind of memoir could be written by someone whose life has been made so extensively, excruciatingly public? Manning’s tremendous bravery, much of the information she released, and the ways in which she was punished and tortured in the wake of her disclosures are all a matter of extremely public record ... So disclosure isn’t the road she travels in this memoir ... Manning’s memoir may thus give us less, not more, of what we may think we know about her. But this is an artful refusal, and an important one ... Absorbing ... The narrative progression that unfolds over these pages forms a sublime arc within the memoir.
Daniel Mallory Ortberg
RaveThe New York Times Book ReviewRejecting the suffering bildung often demanded of transgender writers, Ortberg’s narrative is anything but linear: It skips back in time to mythic Greece, traipses across the landscape of contemporary pop culture and, in one wonderfully fabulist entry that would make Carmen Maria Machado proud, slips outside of time altogether ... Such temporal vertigo makes Something That May Shock and Discredit You addictively strange and delightful ... Ortberg partakes of neither the damaging trope of tragic transness nor the sentimental sanctimony that we are \'permitted,\' offering instead the comic and the transcendent. As he confides, \'I have been a mystery, and I have been changed, and I have been first natural and afterward spiritual.\'