For Today I Am a Boy: Book summary and reviews of For Today I Am a Boy by Kim Fu

For Today I Am a Boy

by Kim Fu

For Today I Am a Boy by Kim Fu
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  • Published in USA  Mar 2015
    256 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

A Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection for Spring 2014
A New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice
Longlisted for the 2014 Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize
Lambda Literary Award, Finalist
Publishing Triangle's Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction, Finalist
2015 PEN/ Hemingway Award, Finalist

At birth, Peter Huang is given the Chinese name Juan Chaun, "powerful king." To his parents, newly settled in small-town Ontario, he is the exalted only son in a sea of daughters, the one who will finally fulfill his immigrant father's dreams of Western masculinity. Peter and his sisters grow up in an airless house of order and obligation, though secrets and half-truths simmer beneath the surface. At the first opportunity, each of the girls lights out on her own. But for Peter, escape is not as simple as fleeing his parents' home. Though his father crowned him "powerful king," Peter knows otherwise. He knows he is really a girl. With the help of his far-flung sisters and the sympathetic souls he finds along the way, Peter inches ever closer to his own life, his own skin, in this darkly funny, emotionally acute, stunningly powerful debut.  

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Some of the recent comments posted about For Today I Am a Boy:

Did Peter's bullying surprise you? Peter himself is bullied into supporting the other boys' actions. How culpable does that make him in the actions perpetrated by the three? Do you think he had a choice?
I agree with what has been said already. I think Peter was afraid of the bullies and rightly so. So he joined then rather than being beaten up by them. His father would not have helped him if he said no I refuse to be a bully. Yes he is responsible ... - kathleenb

Did you like this book?
I did enjoy this book, but also found it somewhat difficult and sad. This family was so connected and yet so disconnected. I kept imagining tops spinning - family members would spin into each other, then bounce away. Sometimes they would fall down ... - poniesnpearls

Do you think any of the four siblings are content with the paths their lives has taken?
No. But I feel hopeful that with all of them together supporting each other things will be easier for each other. But only one speaks German! That is going to be a stressor. I am very happy for Peter and feel he will be doing the best at changing his... - kathleenb

Do you think siblings are generally more similar to each other than different, or the reverse? If you have a sibling, in what ways are you alike and in what ways are you dissimilar? What impact do you think birth order has?
I think every one has there own personality but there are some similarities sometimes. Most people are extroverts so if there is an introvert in the family there might be another which would be out of the normal statistics. With seven children in my ... - kathleenb

Do you think society is more accepting of transgender individuals than they were ten years ago?
Yes. I met a sale clerk recently at a store and told her how lovely her makeup was and wished I could put makeup on as well. She glowed with the compliment. I don't think ten years ago I would have had the nerve to talk to a transgender person like ... - kathleenb

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Sensitively wrought ... For Today I Am a Boy is as much about the construction of self as the consequences of its unwitting destruction—and what happens when its acceptance seems as foreign as another country." - New York Times Book Review

"Subtle and controlled, with flashes of humor and warmth." - Slate

"[Fu] has created a touching, quiet first-person hero—and a believably unhappy family—for her sharply written debut novel…A coming-of-age tale for our time." - Seattle Times

"Keeps you reading. Told in snatches of memory that hurt so much they have the ring of truth." - Bust magazine

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Reader Reviews

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reene s

For Today Am A Man
Peter is the narrator of his story. He tells the story of being transgender through a series of memories and conversations. His voice is so clear that we feel his desperation, confusion and frustration. Culture, generation, gender, finding oneself all play a part in his story. Kim Fu wrote a beautiful, very candid and sensitive story. I strongly recommend this book.

RHG

Painful tinged with hope
The story gives hope but it really highlights the pain and isolation of living a life as a lie. How you have to hide your authentic self due to parental disapproval along with societal scorn. Fitting into an unfamiliar an awkward skin feeling as if you're an unwelcome intruder, clearly knowing you're trapped in a body representing the wrong sex.

Fu masters Peter and his brutal and beautiful story. Painful tinged with hope.

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More Information

More Information

Kim Fu was born in 1987 and holds a master of fine arts degree from the University of British Columbia. She lives in Seattle. Visit her at kimfu.ca

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