Book Review: Gracefully Grayson

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Grayson is a sensitive kid, orphaned as a baby and living with his aunt, uncle and their two children. Grayson is an artist. He loves thrift stores. He experiences his world vividly. He has undiscovered talents. He is kind.

But he is not who he is. Grayson is not a little boy, even though he was born one and is known as one.

I adored Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky (you should check out her blog). This book is so gently told that one’s love for Grayson just swells. I want to give her a hug and make everything better.

A few weeks ago, Stacey Ann Chin tweeted this:

Well, it’s not a movie, but Disney-Hyperion did well with this book. It is middle-grade and a quick and easy read. The dialogue is genuine and the characters are tangible. Just a group of regular people, navigating their way through some challenges, one that happens to be the issue of transgender children.

This is NOT a political book. This is a story that is readable by all kids, and even teenagers and parents. It is not complicated. It is not a debate. In fact, at its core is a young child getting to know himself, and not a political battle. No mention is made of the idea of a sex-change, because twelve-year old Grayson is not thinking about that. No. Grayson is thinking about beautiful dresses, and the princess she wants to be. She is lonely, and dreams about having a friend to shop and giggle with… just like any other girl her age. I really appreciated that point-of-view.

I also thought that they bullying aspect was done well. It was hard to read about Grayson being bullied, and about her guardians not always standing up for her as they should, but it was also good to see that there were people who supported her and befriended her. People who were wonderful and accepting and really the kind of people I hope my kids will one day be and/or befriend.

The Greek Mythology included in the book was so fitting and I enjoyed it, although my own knowledge of mythology is lacking.

I have been trying to think back to when I first learned about transgender individuals. I don’t know how old I was. I wonder if the learning experience was positive or negative? I wonder if whoever told me about it did so with love and not ridicule. But I can’t remember, and I so hope that children would be taught about gender differences in a spirit of acceptance. I do think that books like these can lead the way.

“White and black. Light and dark. And me, in the middle of it all. Gray. There’s nothing else for me to do but walk through these column of dark and light, so I do.”

Simply put, Gracefully Grayson is a gentle little book the tiptoes into your heart, and there it stays. Read it!

I received and eARC of this book via NetGalley and Disney Hyperion. This has not biased my review.

Reviewing “Ebola” – and can we just admit that we don’t have a handle on this?

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I read Ebola: The Natural and Human History of a Deadly Virus by David Quammen. There is hardly a more current book on the matter and I am getting so many questions from friends and family that I figured I might as well inform myself a little more.

In 1976 a deadly virus emerged from the Congo forest. As swiftly as it came, it disappeared, leaving no trace. Over the four decades since, Ebola has emerged sporadically, each time to devastating effect. It can kill up to 90 percent of its victims. In between these outbreaks, it is untraceable, hiding deep in the jungle. The search is on to find Ebola’s elusive host animal. And until we find it, Ebola will continue to strike.

If you’ve been keeping up to date with the literature (or you’re a student or professional in any of the medical sciences) you might not learn too much that you did not already know.

“The current scientific understanding of ebolaviruses constitutes pinpricks of lights against a dark background.”

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Four Years Later: A Metamorphosis

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Today this blog turns four years old. Technically a few minutes to midnight yesterday, but it’s much of a muchness really. Four years ago I wrote about practising speculum exams on sim-dolls in the skills lab. I was so embarrassed to do a bimanual examination on a doll in front of my male classmates. Everything was new and scary and who would have guessed that four years later we would be effortlessly sliding speculae and doing Pap smears and getting ready for the big wide world.

I don’t even know. But it’s funny right.

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Ten Places Books Make Me Wanderlust For

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I realise that is the most awkward sentence but… YOLO. Today with Top Ten Tuesday we discuss places books have  made us want to visit, whether fictional or real. I LOVE this topic! I definitely have the travel bug and I once did a list of books that feature travel in some way. I can’t visit all the places on this list, but that doesn’t mean I don’t travel there in my dreams!

1. Hogwarts

(Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling)

This will forever and always be #1 on my list (the rest of the list is in no particular order). I so want to be in that old castle, eat in the magnificent dining hall, go through the massive library. Please please please can it exist for realsies.

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A Simple Gesture To Make Gynae Exams Less Awkward

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I’ve been on OBGYN for three weeks now. I had four weeks of OB in third year and four weeks of GYN in fifth year, and through it all the speculum examination has always been a bit of a nightmare for me. Visualising the cervix with as little as possible pain to your patient takes practice, like any other skill, but it is also very uncomfortable for most women I’ve seen. Lithotomy is possibly the least dignified position we have ever come up with. Not to mention that an uncomfortable woman in lithotomy will inadvertently tighten her perineal muscles.

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Dear Doctor, From A Med Student

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Dear Doctor

I’m writing to ask you please to not do that thing.

You know what I’m talking about.

It’s a Saturday morning, or the middle of the night on an overnight call, or whatever: it is a time of day that nobody wants to be working. And we are working. Maybe we are working on the same service, maybe I don’t know you from a bar of soap.

I am sitting in the doctors’ room writing notes for the latest patient that arrived in our care. You come in and sit next to me, looking for results on the computer or making notes for your own patient or maybe just drinking a coffee.

You see the design of my name badge so you know that if everything goes well, I will graduate by the end of the year and be one of your colleagues.

Then: you let out a long sigh and say loudly, “You know, it’s not too late to walk away and change your career.”

Crick-crick…

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Book Review: Confessions by Kanae Minato [J-horror]

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Her pupils killed her daughter. Now, she will have her revenge.

I have a lot of feelings about this book, so I apologise in advance for a rambling review. The first feeling is one of regret: not that I regret reading it, not at ALL; but regret that I did not love it as much as I had intended.

The other feelings are harder to name, so let me start off with some pointers: I love reading books set in different countries. I love learning about different cultures through books, although I am aware that books may offer only one viewpoint or exaggerated ones. Continue reading