From writer, producer, performer, and activist Jacob Tobia's Methodist childhood and the hallowed halls of Duke University to the portrait-laden parlors of the White House, Sissy takes you on a journey of gender.
A funny, heartbreaking and earnest account of Tobia's early and young adult life, as well as a smart and accessible entry point for readers interested in learning more about transgender experiences ... While Tobia is candid about difficult experiences like these, Sissy's tone is more entertaining and playful than it is bleak. Aided by plentiful, chatty footnotes, Tobia charts the ongoing evolution of their genderqueer identity with open-hearted vulnerability and a razor-sharp wit ... If Sissy has a guiding ethos, that's it: truth-telling. Tobia's story is not representative of some universal transgender experience, but a testament to, and an affirmation of, the diversity of truths that queer stories contain. Still, it pointedly highlights the things that many queer people have in common, such as the experience of familial, political and professional alienation ... Though Tobia has an impressive academic track record and is obviously intellectually ambitious, Sissy is free from the (important, but complex) theory and analysis that can sometimes weigh down conversations about gender identity and expression. While everyone has something to learn from Sissy, readers new to stories and identities like Tobia's will find this memoir an especially welcoming introduction to the quite simple but still revolutionary notion that there are more than two genders.
Tobia is a gifted storyteller ... Always thoughtful, Tobia writes extremely well, with insight, lucidity, occasional anger, and, when things get too serious, wit. The result is, hands down, one of the best trans narratives available; it deserves a place in every library.
Candid, unapologetic ... In this thought-provoking account, Tobia shows how exposure to the world, and gentle, persistent expansion toward the femme, led to a self-knowledge of non-binary gender identity. The author writes with passion and candor, and what Tobia’s personal story lacks in drama, it makes up for in brash confessions ... Tobia narrates early, definitive incidents charmingly and wisely ... As narrator, Tobia is by turns snarky, self-centered, foul-mouthed, wildly intelligent, entertaining and, in places, grating. Sometimes the book dips into self-indulgence rather than self-study, and the word “glitter” appears so often that it might have served as a title. Still, Sissy is a valuable dispatch from a new generation of queer activists and artists — the first generation with the power to connect to themselves en masse without apology — and it would be a blessing if all such voices were as articulate and charismatic as this one.