Review of ‘Dragonfly: A Memoir’ by Marie Maxham

An inspirational journey of transition, via trapeze, circus camp, software development, dancing, lots of friends, oh and the little black dress that begins the memoir! The author, Marie, is donating the proceeds of this book to non-profit trans organisations.

Book cover of Dragonfly by Marie Maxham

The memoir is mainly an exploration of self-discovery, focusing on how Marie transitioned from male to female somewhat late in life after lots of clues added up over the years. There are many admirable elements in this book, such as the positive outlook, friendly tone of voice, unflinching candour and also the parenting of a nonbinary teen. The structure, however, feels a little disjointed and is like a series of blog posts rather than a cohesive autobiography. Although the writing style is straightforward and therefore easy to read, it lacks the narrative flair that I enjoy in non-fiction reads. For example, almost near the end of the book, the author jokes that she killed a man (meaning her former identity). This would have been a great way to open the narrative and get the reader hooked. The structure should be more linear, instead of travelling back and forth the last few years with only occasional dips further into the past. Moreover, the content is sometimes too detailed, such as how many milligrams of hormone Marie had at various times, or replicating content from Reddit, or mentioning whenever she got her covid vaccines. It also shows Marie’s particular experience from the viewpoint of privilege, such as having access to great healthcare in the US and trying lots of new experiences that not everyone would be able to afford.

I would recommend this book as a very personal perspective of transitioning, whether to better understand how it feels, or for a reader who is perhaps starting their own journey of self-discovery and wants some reassurance.

Independently published in 2023. This review also appeared on Reedsy, from which I obtained the review copy.

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