Thomas Page McBee
Mr B's review
This illuminating memoir opens with McBee, a trans man, being confronted and offered a fight in the street. Unsure how to deal with the situation, McBee sets off to discover what it is to be a man in our age of toxic masculinity. He signs up for white collar boxing at Madison Square Garden and we follow him as he trains for the fight and explores gender in the 21st century.
Shortlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction
Shortlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize
In this groundbreaking new book, Thomas Page McBee, a trans man, trains to fight in a charity match at Madison Square Garden while struggling to untangle the vexed relationship between masculinity and violence.
Through his experience of boxing – learning to get hit, and to hit back; wrestling with the camaraderie of the gym; confronting the betrayals and strength of his own body – McBee examines the weight of male violence, the pervasiveness of gender stereotypes and the limitations of conventional masculinity. A wide-ranging exploration of gender in our society, Amateur is ultimately a story of hope, as McBee traces a way forward: a new masculinity, inside the ring and out of it.
A graceful and uncompromising exploration of living, fighting and healing, in Amateur we gain insight into the stereotypes and shifting realities of masculinity today through the eyes of a new man.
A visceral, sparky read . . . Beautifully written [and] deep and affecting . . . Absolutely fascinating — BBC Radio 4 A Good Read A blazingly wise and beautiful book — A.L. KENNEDY McBee’s writing bristles with an elegant swagger . . . Amateur is as much a reconciliation as an emancipation . . . Punchy, thought-provoking stuff * * Sunday Times * * In an age when identity feels so splintered and fractional, McBee’s empathy with men feels refreshing, but it’s his determination to be accountable that is radical. He resolves his own masculinity crisis by doing the things men often think they’re doing, but so often are not: listening, asking questions, seeking help, being vulnerable * * Observer * * Brave, honest and touchingly human . . . This is a beautiful book that will resonate . . . with anyone anywhere in the world who is determined to become a better, kinder human being — ELIF SHAFAK * * Guardian * * Amateur is a heck of a tale, and McBee is a gifted memoirist * * Financial Times * * Amateur provocatively describes the ways in which an increasingly fragile patriarchal culture needs to keep men in their place. A quest for self-liberation, this loving and deeply intelligent exploration of contemporary masculinities is essential reading — DEBORAH LEVY One of my favourite books of 2018 . . . A memoir about boxing, masculinity and transitioning. It is exceptional — NIKESH SHUKLA An eye-opening story about gender and courage, and confirmation that there are many different fights to being a man * * Guardian * * Amidst a generational shift bringing to question what exactly defines gender, this book plays like x-ray glasses, examining every oddity one may pretend isn’t apparent — JORDAN STEPHENS
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