Sunday, September 18, 2011

Justin Vivian Bond's Tango - A Book Review

A good review of Bond's upcoming memoir: Tango

Problematic coverage of the book aside, I loved Tango. Kate Bornstein said it best when she wrote, “…Tango is like listening to your favorite eccentric cousin or auntie tell you hair-​raising tales…Justin Vivian spins a one-​of-​a-​kind story that you won’t be able to put down.” She nailed it on both accounts: the book feels incredibly conversational, as though it were not a book at all, but a collection of Bond’s famously biting asides between songs at a cabaret. Secondly, I truly could not put the book down. I lied to myself, saying I would just read until I was tired, and then tucked myself into bed some hours later, book complete, in the wee hours of the morning.

Tango is largely the story of Bond’s relationship with v’s childhood lover, who was also v’s greatest tormentor in school. This intersects with the various ways in which the adults in v’s life tried, through various means and with varied success, to regulate v’s clearly emerging queer sexuality and gender. The moments range from the utterly traumatic to the touching to laugh out loud. Justin’s mother forbade v from wearing her frosted pink lipstick to school, v’s pop pop bought v Barbie coloring books without question or issue, and v’s Cub Scout troupe found v the odd boy out who picked Sandy Duncan as the figure in history that v would most like to be.


Also, thank you, J. Rudy for calling out the NYT's transphobic b.s. - so tiresome and so unwarranted.


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