A Story of Thriving in a Transgender Family
Rating: 4 Stars
The memoir of Amanda Jette Knox’s life. A proud mother of three boys and family blogger, Knox’s life is changed drastically the day her eleven year old son sends his mother and father an email explaining that he doesn’t feel right as a boy and that he was a girl on the inside. Knox tells the story of how her family rallied together and supported each other and Alexis (her transgender daughter) as she begins to live the life she has always wanted to live. A year or so later, once the dust has settled on Alexis’s transition – after she’s come out to her family, friends, school, and extended family – another curveball is thrown at Knox when her husband of twenty years comes out to her as transgender as well.
I don’t normally like to review memoirs because I feel as if I’m judging (whether good or bad) someone’s life. And I always feel as if I have absolutely no right to judge someone else’s story. But in this rare case I cannot stay silent about this book.
Everyone needs to read Love Lives Here. If you are a person who has a loved one who is transitioning – you need to read this book. If you are a person who doesn’t think they have anyone in their lives who identify as transgender – you need to read this book.
Not only was it written well, it was written with such truth. Knox doesn’t sugarcoat her experience, she’s honest about her initial reaction to her daughter’s coming out. She admits to the real and true feelings that a mother would naturally have. She describes how her first reaction is shock, she admits that at the time she was ill equipped to help her daughter on her journey – knowing she didn’t have a lot of knowledge on the transgender community – and she even admits to feeling like her own identity had been changed. If she had a child she didn’t realize was dealing with internal feelings of not feeling right as a boy, was she a good enough mother? What mother misses something as big as this in her child’s life? (And for the record, I don’t think that makes her any less of a good mother. Kids can hide a lot; their feelings, what they’re going through, bullying, depression, and everything else under the sun, from their parents, if that’s what they feel they have to do.)
But Amanda and her partner hold their daughter as she cries and they reassure her she’s going to be okay and that they love and support her no matter what. Which is beautiful. Because statistically, when children, teens, and even adults, do not have a solid support system, things become a million times more difficult for them.
And then she does exactly what a good mother would do: she researched. She educated herself on a topic that she had little to no knowledge of before her daughter came out to her. She reached out to people who had gone through what her family was about to experience, she contacted medical professionals who were able to steer her in the right direction, she contacted her daughter’s paediatrician so that they could work together to help Alexis in the best way possible. And Knox never stops fighting for her daughter’s rights.
This story is gorgeous mostly because it is so raw and true. Knox doesn’t just write about all of the positive things she did for her daughter, she doesn’t skip past her worry, doubt, concern, and even the brief thought she had about it being a “phase.” She is real and honest in her recount of this harrowing story of a family that supports and loves each other no matter what.
And she does it all over again when her husband comes out as transgender as well. Knox acknowledges times when she said the wrong things, her own feelings and concerns about having her spouse of twenty years admit that they never identified as male and didn’t feel right in the body they were born with.
This story is simply about an amazing woman who kept catching every curveball life threw at her with love and acceptance and unconditional support and strength (even when she speaks about falling apart – she was strong and pulled herself back up in order to support the people she loves.)
Amanda Jette Knox is an inspiration and her journey is an amazing one. Love Lives Here is honest and beautiful and filled with facts and information that has probably helped a vast number of families and I hope it continues to do so.
This story and this woman (and her entire family) are just amazing, beautiful, wonderful people who are sharing such a personal story which takes strength.
I wish everyone would read this memoir. Whether you are someone who is trying to support and understand someone in the LGBTQ2S+ community or not. Regardless, this memoir teaches its readers love and acceptance in a world that is unfortunately still so full of hate.
Disclaimer: All thoughts and opinions are simply my own honest ones and I have not been asked to write this review. Not everyone may agree with my thoughts and that’s okay! I hope you enjoy reading about mine.