Pageboy by Elliot Page
Those interested in a very intimate look into the life of a queer actor.
In a nutshell:
Author Page shares his journey as an actor who has come out as gay and then as trans.
N/A (audio book)
Why I chose it:
I wanted to hear Page’s story through his own words, and not an interpretation via the media.
What it left me feeling:
CN for hate crimes, sexual abuse, sexual harassment.
I’m so happy that Page had this opportunity to tell his story, but I cannot say that this was a book that I enjoyed reading. It felt more personal than the usual memoir (and I’ve read literally dozens of memoirs, so I am familiar with the range of what is usually shared), and there were aspects of it that were so very graphic. I absolutely appreciate and understand that Page’s sexual relationships with others have been critical in his journey, but I don’t really ever want to read graphic sex scenes in any book — memoir, fiction, non-fiction (also film and TV – and I know that’s a me thing). So to have multiple such stories in a book made it challenging for me. I stopped and briefly considered just not finishing it, but between those graphic bits there was so much that Page shared that I felt like I almost owed it to his experience to finish it.
Page has experienced a lot of trauma in his life – from people in Hollywood, from strangers on the street, from his own family members. It’s frankly amazing to think that he was able to find the strength to be who he are, given how publicly he lived his experiences. He discusses his closeted relationships with other women when Page was still perceived as a woman, then publicly being out as gay when so many people feel the need to comment on the sexuality of others (including a priest who passed him an inappropriate note on a plane), and then publicly transitioning to a trans man. It’s a lot for anyone, and Page has managed to come through it strong. He shared so many stories of things that impacted his dysphoria that I’d never thought of, like the costumes he was required to wear in films.
I did find it hard to follow the time line of his life, as Page tells his stories in a narrative order that makes sense for him and his journey, but that isn’t linear. I’m not overly familiar with his work, so references to films and TV I think probably make it easier to follow for people who do know his work well.
Recommend to a Friend / Keep / Donate it / Toss it: