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She Wants It: Desire, Power, and Toppling the Patriarchy

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New York Times Editors' Choice In this poignant memoir of personal transformation, Jill Soloway takes us on a patriarchy-toppling emotional and professional journey. When Jill's parent came out as transgender, Jill pushed through the male-dominated landscape of Hollywood to create the groundbreaking and award-winning Amazon TV series Transparent. Exploring identity, love, New York Times Editors' Choice In this poignant memoir of personal transformation, Jill Soloway takes us on a patriarchy-toppling emotional and professional journey. When Jill's parent came out as transgender, Jill pushed through the male-dominated landscape of Hollywood to create the groundbreaking and award-winning Amazon TV series Transparent. Exploring identity, love, sexuality, and the blurring of boundaries through the dynamics of a complicated and profoundly resonant American family, Transparent gave birth to a new cultural consciousness. While working on the show and exploding mainstream ideas about gender, Jill began to erase the lines on their own map, finding their voice as a director, show creator, and activist. She Wants It: Desire, Power, and Toppling the Patriarchy moves with urgent rhythms, wild candor, and razor-edged humor to chart Jill's evolution from straight, married mother of two to identifying as queer and nonbinary. This intense and revelatory metamorphosis challenges the status quo and reflects the shifting power dynamics that continue to shape our collective worldview. With unbridled insight that offers a rare front seat to the inner workings of the #metoo movement and its aftermath, Jill captures the zeitgeist of a generation with thoughtful and revolutionary ideas about gender, inclusion, desire, and consent.


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New York Times Editors' Choice In this poignant memoir of personal transformation, Jill Soloway takes us on a patriarchy-toppling emotional and professional journey. When Jill's parent came out as transgender, Jill pushed through the male-dominated landscape of Hollywood to create the groundbreaking and award-winning Amazon TV series Transparent. Exploring identity, love, New York Times Editors' Choice In this poignant memoir of personal transformation, Jill Soloway takes us on a patriarchy-toppling emotional and professional journey. When Jill's parent came out as transgender, Jill pushed through the male-dominated landscape of Hollywood to create the groundbreaking and award-winning Amazon TV series Transparent. Exploring identity, love, sexuality, and the blurring of boundaries through the dynamics of a complicated and profoundly resonant American family, Transparent gave birth to a new cultural consciousness. While working on the show and exploding mainstream ideas about gender, Jill began to erase the lines on their own map, finding their voice as a director, show creator, and activist. She Wants It: Desire, Power, and Toppling the Patriarchy moves with urgent rhythms, wild candor, and razor-edged humor to chart Jill's evolution from straight, married mother of two to identifying as queer and nonbinary. This intense and revelatory metamorphosis challenges the status quo and reflects the shifting power dynamics that continue to shape our collective worldview. With unbridled insight that offers a rare front seat to the inner workings of the #metoo movement and its aftermath, Jill captures the zeitgeist of a generation with thoughtful and revolutionary ideas about gender, inclusion, desire, and consent.

30 review for She Wants It: Desire, Power, and Toppling the Patriarchy

  1. 5 out of 5

    *TUDOR^QUEEN*

    Thank you to Crown Publishing who provided an advance reader copy via NetGalley. Jill Soloway is the creator, director, producer and writer of the excellent Amazon series "Transparent." I am not normally a watcher of fictional television, but the invitation to watch this kept appearing on the swipe screen of my Kindle Fire HDX. Being an Amazon Prime customer, I decided to check it out. The premise of this show is a very unique and provocative one for its time. It's about a father named Mort Pfeff Thank you to Crown Publishing who provided an advance reader copy via NetGalley. Jill Soloway is the creator, director, producer and writer of the excellent Amazon series "Transparent." I am not normally a watcher of fictional television, but the invitation to watch this kept appearing on the swipe screen of my Kindle Fire HDX. Being an Amazon Prime customer, I decided to check it out. The premise of this show is a very unique and provocative one for its time. It's about a father named Mort Pfefferman who late in life confesses to his three adult children that he's decided to live his life going forward as a woman named Maura. I had heard the buzz when this show cleaned up at awards shows such as The Emmys and The Golden Globes. Well, the beauty of watching a series from a streaming service is that it immediately queues up the next episode. Hence, I wound up binge watching my way through this marvelous series, easily completing a full season in short order. Jill Soloway was spending a sleepy morning in her kitchen with her young son Felix when she got a startling phone call from her father. He told her that he now identified as a woman and was going to call himself Carrie. Jill had middling success as a writer on shows such as HBO's "Six Feet Under," but had many show ideas of her own turned down in the past. However, once she got that fateful phone call from her Dad, it was that spark of inspiration which gave her the idea for "Transparent." Many other channels turned it down, but Amazon gave the show a chance. "Transparent" wound up becoming the first show put forth by a streaming media service to win the Golden Globe for Best Series. In 2017, Jeffrey Tambor (who brilliantly played Mort "Maura" Pfefferman...the lead character) was accused of sexual harassment and wound up leaving the show. This is all covered in the book very honestly by Soloway. At this point, Soloway had transformed from being a heterosexual married mother of two to a divorced "non-binary" person in a relationship with a woman. She went to a male barber and cut her hair short, stopped wearing makeup, etc. She also became very passionate about equal rights for women in business, citing how men were given a lot more chances in the film industry. When a worker on her own show accused Tambor of sexual harassment, she had to deal with the sorrow of how this would adversely effect her wildly successful show. She grappled with this horrible dilemma, but had to accept the reality of Tambor's departure. Even though Jill Soloway's politics and lifestyle are at the opposite spectrum from me, I enjoyed reading this memoir very much. It's not just a book about the show "Transparent," but about Soloway's personal life. Once the show took off Soloway's life transformed in a very personal way with her shift to "non-binary" status. She now considers herself neither male nor female and uses the pronoun "they" when referring to herself. She also was relentless about hiring many trans and queer people for "Transparent", feeling that they were often marginalized by employers. This is a well-written, honest and heartfelt book.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Olivia

    --- Disclaimer: I received a free copy of She Wants It: Desire, Power, and Toppling the Patriarchy from Crown Archetype in a Goodreads giveaway. --- I had never heard of Jill Soloway and had never watched Transparent, so was not drawn to this book for those reasons. The title implies that this book will be some manner of feminist or queer manifesto. As much as Soloway wanted it to be, it was neither of those things. Make no mistake, this is a celebrity memoir, chock full of "Reese Witherspoon/Opr --- Disclaimer: I received a free copy of She Wants It: Desire, Power, and Toppling the Patriarchy from Crown Archetype in a Goodreads giveaway. --- I had never heard of Jill Soloway and had never watched Transparent, so was not drawn to this book for those reasons. The title implies that this book will be some manner of feminist or queer manifesto. As much as Soloway wanted it to be, it was neither of those things. Make no mistake, this is a celebrity memoir, chock full of "Reese Witherspoon/Oprah/Gaby Hoffman was there", "We were at Paramount in the work room where we did this quirky thing", and things like that. That being said, this is a celebrity memoir with a decidedly gendered lens as Soloway's parent came out as trans and they later identify as non-binary. I think this book is great for visibility of these complexities, but it is not a book to go to if you want to learn more about trans, queer, or gender issues (if that's what you are looking for, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick or Judith Butler are great places to start!) In terms of the memoir elements, I was really intrigued by the vulnerability Soloway (unintentionally?) demonstrates by sharing their mishaps of failed inclusivity when hiring or writing for Transparent. Also, how Soloway grapples with their potentially problematic response to their parent's coming out as a woman: creating a TV show based on her life. In terms of the pseudo-manifesto bits, the book loses its way starting around the chapter "We're Not Allowed To Want". Soloway begins to mix up topics, themes, and timelines to the detriment of what they had already written. I had never heard of their organization Topple the Patriarchy and felt that Soloway was often a bit self-involved in terms of what they were doing to revolutionize feminist and queer movements, especially when limited attention was paid to their privilege in Hollywood. Also, Soloway was a bit critical of the trans individuals who made allegations against Jeffrey Tambor and this was kind of brushed over, which was a bit uncomfortable... I'd say, if you're a fan of the show, this book might be of interest, but do not read it if you were intrigued by the title - it's a complete misnomer.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Aria

    ---- Disclosure: I received this book for free from Goodreads. ---- I'll have to come back & do a proper review on this, but for now I'll just let the 1-star speak for itself. Don't waste your time. I mean, this title isn't even appropriate. So much better stuff exists regarding gender-identity. ------- So, I am going to try & do this review so I can mark it as done, but after taking some time to think I've not changed my mind about it. This book sucks. Bad writing & no story, ju ---- Disclosure: I received this book for free from Goodreads. ---- I'll have to come back & do a proper review on this, but for now I'll just let the 1-star speak for itself. Don't waste your time. I mean, this title isn't even appropriate. So much better stuff exists regarding gender-identity. ------- So, I am going to try & do this review so I can mark it as done, but after taking some time to think I've not changed my mind about it. This book sucks. Bad writing & no story, just narcissism. It’s just bad. Poorly done. Not good. Am I making myself clear here? There's literally one quote worth reading in the entire thing, but since another reviewer has already quoted it I’ll not re-hash. I will say the quote is so very different from the rest of the content that I have to wonder if it's even her words, or if she just got lucky & had one statement that was worth something. (Seriously, it was that different from everything else in the volume.) Okay, here we go. ---- This book started out w/ the author detailing a history of selfish & short-sighted decisions that led to her reproducing; from there it went downhill. Initially I thought, "Okay, this is intro. stuff. It'll fill out & get better." Lol, nope. The remainder of the book is the biggest collection of name-dropping I have ever come across, whining about how she didn't get famous quick enough, & the tedious telling & not showing of this happened & then that happened & blah fucking blah. OMG. STOP. That's it. That's the book, folks. So, here's what I have pieced together in my mind that led up to this review. (It's not pretty.) Let's start w/ the show. (I promise this is relevant.) I watched the show thinking it was about time someone did such a story, & Tambor was a great choice to play the main character. Whatever may or may not have happened on set, he played the character excellently. Unfortunately, the show quickly devolved away from the story of the supposed main character into a ridiculous focus on the whiny, entitled, self-absorbed children that made me stop watching the show in utter disgust. I was so disappointed at such an opportunity lost. Now, to relay that experience to this book. Had I thought the show & the book would follow such a similar course, I'd never have signed up for this ARC. However, I'm quite aware that once a show has been bought & put into production any number of things can happen that may take it into a completely different direction from what it may have been conceptually. That made me open to the idea that this book could indeed be a truer representation of an experience that did not make it to screen. Indeed, the blurb about the book, & the title itself, seemed to indicate that the content would be worthy of my time & attention. Well, we know how that turned out. *sigh* Here's where I say what I have been leading up to: I don't think I like like Jill Soloway. If we ended up in a room together I would avoid her, & possibly leave the room to look for a better set of people. Perhaps that sounds harsh, but there it is. This book reads as a confirmation of the idea that Soloway has learned little from being the (supposedly) adult child of a transgender parent, but has instead seen the experience as nothing more than a way to vault herself into the public eye as she so clearly believes she deserves to be. What I mean is, it's all about her. She seems to use the entire experience only as ways to scream, "look at me," without having actually delivered us anything truly worth digesting. Even the digression into playing w/ her gender & sexual identity seems opportunistic and not entirely true. Not once does she ever mention that thing that always seems to exist somewhere in the history of those who identify as not cis-gendered &/or non-hetero: a history of being uncomfortable in their physical selves, or a questioning of their relationship to their own bodies & selves. (Such things obviously alter how one must adjust to the cis & hetero-normative world & how they manage to move through it as they develop & grow-up.) Nor is there ever really any true statement of an understanding of, or even coming to terms with, the intense journey Soloway’s father had undergone to be able to finally arrive at a point in life of becoming the woman she had always been. I mean, anyone knows that right there is the whole story. Additionally, the relational stories about how such a change later in life alters the way one approaches & lives with the same people that existed in one's life before said change would also be truly interesting, & definitely worth the telling. That brings us back to start, where we have the tale of a parent, the children, (& possibly other loved ones), & how they adjust to such a large change, or fail to, & how well they then manage to relate back to the world at large. There is so much there to explore. That tale is what I expected to receive when I watched Transparent, & that is what I expected this book to provide when the show failed. Despite what the blurb claims, this book will give you none of that. This book gives you the tale of what Soloway believes she deserves. It will tell you all the people she claims to be friends with, & demonstrate how resentful she is that those uber-talented & obviously hard working people become leaders in their fields, but she was still unknown. It will tell you how when Soloway learned of her father's transition she quickly told other family to quick, call & get the news since they didn't yet know & then quick call her back, rather than let her dad tell them in his(her) own time, as had specifically stated as the preferred option by her father. It will inform you of how Soloway turned directly toward taking this story of her fathers & turned it into a commodity for sale, & how irritated she was that some other stories had beaten her to the punch as she learned she did not have quite as unique a product as she’d thought, & therefore had to shop it around longer than she felt she should have had to do. Following this mad dash to sell, the reader is treated to the ever so tedious detailing of meetings, & phone conversations, & all the things that one knows goes on when a show is being put together but did not ever think one would ever find oneself reading the play-by-play report of....f'ing boring. Then there is a random and never explained swipe taken at Seth Rogen, for reasons I still don't fathom. Finally we arrive at the end of the show, some claims made against Tambor which I don't know enough about to have any opinion on, but which the author, as usual, views only in relation to herself & how it will effect her show. (Alas, the "why me," stance. Still self-focused, despite seeming to be opposite the stance from the former bit of the book, "why not me/what about me?") After all that comes information about her foray into what unfortunately comes off as trying on clothes & playing dress up, except instead of clothes it's gender roles & non-hetero sexuality. To be clear, I could give a crap if she is non-hetero or not cis-gendered. My point is, she did not seem to give 2 figs about it either way until her other venues faltered and her "look at me" switch wasn't getting flipped. That reads as dishonest & opportunistic, no matter what may actually be going on. I have to hope it is not so false as it came off, but truly I can't know. All I can know is what kind of person she has presented to be from her choices, and from what she demonstrated as being important to her in the past....but that is indeed what has led me to my suspicions. (Also I would add that the very same thing occurred in the tv show, & I thought it was clearly bullshit even then. I quit watching about that time in the program, as it was glaringly obvious the show was not going to be about the trans parent, after all.) What I want you to note from my summary above is what was not in the book. There was no story of a child-parent relationship in relation to such a unique situation. There was no challenging of patriarchy, or really even any conversation about it. There was a lot of talk about Jill. Jill thinks she should be famous. Jill name drops. Jill wants to know why other people are famous & she isn't. Jill’s Dad had a major life change which Jill quickly, without permission or even a pause for consideration, runs her mouth about to everyone & sells as quick as she can manage, even though it's not quick enough for her. Jill tells us about her meetings. Jill tells us about her phone calls. Jill tells us how other people are ruining her chance at fame. (Lol. Okay, sure. If you say so.) Jill's show disappears. Jill tries dating a girl & altering her appearance to be more masculine. Jill does not again mention more about her kid's or her Dad’s (& the family’s) life experiences, or other people at all (unless they are famous), & Jill probably needs to change shrinks because the one she has been seeing for so long doesn't seem to have done much to make Jill give a shit about anyone but Jill. There you have it. Perhaps the harshest review I've ever written, but I feel honest about it. Don't sell me an idea for a book or a show & instead give me some whiny, self-absorbed, entitled, bullshit from someone's f'ing diary, followed by the details of their day planner. Ffs. I feel lied to, & what's more is this was a disgraceful loss of the possibility of an enlightening & very much untold story being shared from the unique perspective of the child of a parent undergoing a profound experience. Instead it was co-opted by someone that comes off as more or less throwing a fit b/c they want more toys in their playroom. The book compounds the failure of the show to be what it was sold to be, & frankly the whole experience has left me disgusted & angry. I will reiterate my final analysis, being that this was a dull, poorly written, disjointed, & self-serving work. Also, I now think I just don't like Jill Soloway. She's not my people. She comes off as the kind of person that tries to skew everything to her personal benefit, & as such is a problem for the real advancement of any sort of cause. On the bright side, now that I know that for a fact I can avoid her work in the future & won't have to write stuff like this again, b/c I truly don't enjoy being in this position. (As a matter of fact, I was all set earlier this week to enter a giveaway for an interesting sounding book presenting to be feminist in nature, but then I saw it had Soloway in the blurbs giving a recommendation for the book. Um, no thanks. Naturally, I skipped entry as a result.) Now that I've explained myself, I'll stfu. All done now, & grateful to be putting this behind me. Time to chuck this book in the recycling bin, although I'm still upset that a tree died for it. That was a wasteful injustice, for sure.

  4. 4 out of 5

    (a)lyss(a)

    "Women spend the first half of our lives afraid we're going to get raped and the second half afraid we're going to find a lump." I received a copy of this ebook from firsttoread.com in exchange for an honest review. I wanted to like this book and I've been trying to figure out why I didn't love it and it comes down to for being a memoir this book still lacked some structure, the tone fluctuated a lot (which also goes back to structure), and it sort of seems like this book was written in the middle "Women spend the first half of our lives afraid we're going to get raped and the second half afraid we're going to find a lump." I received a copy of this ebook from firsttoread.com in exchange for an honest review. I wanted to like this book and I've been trying to figure out why I didn't love it and it comes down to for being a memoir this book still lacked some structure, the tone fluctuated a lot (which also goes back to structure), and it sort of seems like this book was written in the middle of a story and I would have been more interested to find out the end. I didn't realize Jill Soloway was the writer of Transparent when I found this book. It's something they elude to early on and I hadn't realized how much their life and the show parallel each other. On the one hand I think it's brave to put so much of your personal life out there and I've enjoyed the show but also realizing that Moppa is what Soloway calls their parent and their identity experience being what Alex is going through it sort of felt like they cut and pasted their life into the show which does sort of change how I see it. There also seems to be two distinct stories happening in this book. One is about Soloway's personal experience in their marriage and gender identity and professional life and one specifically about Transparent. I was a little disappointed that the harassment by Tambor is barely addressed and given that he was only recently dropped from the show and the latest season hasn't been released I would have thought writing a book once that reason is out or the show is resolved would make more sense. Similarly for Soloway's personal experience - I think it's great that they're exploring their identity and I recognize that gender is fluid and there's no "final product" because we're human but to me it sort of came off as someone who is just starting out on their journey and figuring things out along the way (which makes sense, everyone starts somewhere and Soloway even says they struggle with prounouns at times because they're still learning who they are) but I imagine a book somewhere down the road when they've had more experience and insight would have been more thoughtful and would have more to share about navigating gender identity and that would intrigue me more. The concept of toppling the patriarchy drew me into this title and while Soloway is clearly anti-patriarchy and has done a lot for women the manifestos caught me off guard. I had never seen the manifesto shared on Twitter before which made me think either the movement wasn't as big as Soloway thought or it just didn't make the rounds to my network, so it left me a little confused about its role in the context of the book. Soloway is vulnerable in this book and shares a lot of what is important to them both personally and professionally - that is impressive. This book didn't resonate a lot with me personally but I'll continue to enjoy the show.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sue Dix

    ARC from First To Read, Penguin House. I have to admit to skimming to the last few pages of the book. I was enjoying the beginning of the book, but it seemed to devolve into manic episodes of “this happened” and “this happened” and then “this happened” to the point where I was having a hard time following along. I’m happy that Jill Soloway has found who they are. It was just extremely overwhelming and I suppose that’s the point, isn’t it. I also feel that the subtitle is deceptive. I didn’t get a ARC from First To Read, Penguin House. I have to admit to skimming to the last few pages of the book. I was enjoying the beginning of the book, but it seemed to devolve into manic episodes of “this happened” and “this happened” and then “this happened” to the point where I was having a hard time following along. I’m happy that Jill Soloway has found who they are. It was just extremely overwhelming and I suppose that’s the point, isn’t it. I also feel that the subtitle is deceptive. I didn’t get a toppling the patriarchy vibe.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Chloe Metzger

    Going into this book I thought I'd be reading a great book exploring feminism, the impact of a later in life Transition etc. I'll put it out there I didn't know who Jill Soloway was when I requested this and I've never watched Transparent - but it looked interesting and so I thought why not? The first half of the book was really interesting- Jill discusses the changes in her life as her parent comes out as Trans and how that lead to the birth of the hit Amazon series. Reading about the implicati Going into this book I thought I'd be reading a great book exploring feminism, the impact of a later in life Transition etc. I'll put it out there I didn't know who Jill Soloway was when I requested this and I've never watched Transparent - but it looked interesting and so I thought why not? The first half of the book was really interesting- Jill discusses the changes in her life as her parent comes out as Trans and how that lead to the birth of the hit Amazon series. Reading about the implications this had on her family and her relationships was what I felt the book would be. I felt like the book couldn't decide what it wanted to be. Was it a memoir, a feminist manifesto, a piece questioning gender? Throughout it just kept changing tact, meaning it was very hard to keep up with what, as a reader, I was meant to be focusing on. It got to the point where I struggled to engage with the book because, honestly, Jill's narrative became incredibly self-absorbed and, actually, quite unlikeable. I was struggling between 2 and 3 stars through the novel but, for me, Jill's comments on the Times Up era when someone close to her was accused made me feel that I wasn't interested any more. I gave this 2 stars - some good elements but ultimately not for me. Thank you to Netgalley and Penguin for the ARC.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Leseparatist

    As a viewer of Transparent and an avid reader of TV women's memoirs (or femoirs), I knew I wanted to read it (yay for branching out into enbymoirs!) and I'm very grateful to NetGalley for making it possible. All opinions are my own, but bear in mind that this is one of the genres I'm most interested in. I found Soloway's voice engaging and funny, even when their attitude could run towards a little annoying; a problem familiar to readers of celebrity personal journey tales. Soloway seems self-awar As a viewer of Transparent and an avid reader of TV women's memoirs (or femoirs), I knew I wanted to read it (yay for branching out into enbymoirs!) and I'm very grateful to NetGalley for making it possible. All opinions are my own, but bear in mind that this is one of the genres I'm most interested in. I found Soloway's voice engaging and funny, even when their attitude could run towards a little annoying; a problem familiar to readers of celebrity personal journey tales. Soloway seems self-aware and this allows us to read and embrace the difficult, messy subject matter: the mistakes on the way to better. They describe their wrong choices frankly, and this means a narrative that is uncomfortable but valuable. Soloway, for most of their story, doesn't quite cast themself as an authority but rather a traveller on the path towards a more inclusive and fair future, one which has toppled the patriarchy. They are honest about failing when #MeToo happened closer to home, and that's interesting to see, too. That said, I didn't find the conclusion, where Jill tries to summarise and analyse some parts of their and their family's experience, quite convincing. This is where reviewing a memoir becomes difficult - am I assessing the text or the person behind it? Impossible to separate. But I feel like "She Wants It" could have used a little more distance, a little more hedging. Soloway had lofty goals and made big mistakes in the process of making Transparent; it is still an important piece of art and television history. That said, I don't think their text quite grapples with how the very attitude of "in the family", the familia-lisation of the workplace, contributed to its potential for harm rather than making it safer. Soloway writes in various places lovingly and admiringly about the nine rules they wrote for the show's creative process, and about how boundaries between performers, creators and original family, between Pfeffermanns and Soloways, became porous; how they (Soloway) in particular used the show to work through their identity and their trauma. And then they say they wished the victim of Tambor's harassment had kept it "in the family" (an impulse they never quite disclaim even as they criticise it somewhat). Perhaps it was a family for some of its members more than for others; perhaps it shouldn't have been "a family" in the first place, because that makes the power differential all the greater. There's a scene in the text towards the end where Soloway honestly describes themself as crying in reaction to an employee's accusation (a familiar gesture of weaponising fragility). It's powerful to read, and good that it wasn't left out, but I don't quite feel Soloway writes clearly enough about how damaging that gesture was and what power dynamic it brought with itself. It was fascinating, messy, problematic, occasionally annoying, honest and artificial at the same time. I couldn't put it down and read it in one sitting.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Catherine

    I've been on such a memoir kick on the last year, but recently I've noticed some memoirs come out that don't really tell a story so much as a soliloquy. This is how I felt about She Wants It. Soloway brings up important topics and gives us a voice that we don't often hear, just as on Transparent, but I didn't lose myself in this story. It really felt like being stuck in a conversation with someone who won't stop talking about themselves: sometimes interesting, sometimes funny, sometimes you just I've been on such a memoir kick on the last year, but recently I've noticed some memoirs come out that don't really tell a story so much as a soliloquy. This is how I felt about She Wants It. Soloway brings up important topics and gives us a voice that we don't often hear, just as on Transparent, but I didn't lose myself in this story. It really felt like being stuck in a conversation with someone who won't stop talking about themselves: sometimes interesting, sometimes funny, sometimes you just have to roll your eyes and stare longingly at the door.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Girl

    I read this because wife had and she had been VERY vocal about her reading. As always, it's difficult to separate an opinion on a memoir of one's opinion on the memoir's author. One thing that surprised me is that at many points, Solloway *reacts* to things and events (their parent's coming out, which seems to put an entire chain of changes into motion) rather than being the instigator of actions.   There were aspects of this book that were fascinating to read. Solloway offers a particular insight I read this because wife had and she had been VERY vocal about her reading. As always, it's difficult to separate an opinion on a memoir of one's opinion on the memoir's author. One thing that surprised me is that at many points, Solloway *reacts* to things and events (their parent's coming out, which seems to put an entire chain of changes into motion) rather than being the instigator of actions.   There were aspects of this book that were fascinating to read. Solloway offers a particular insight on the goings-on of Hollywood and on their efforts to change the culture of TV-making-- from the perspective of a person who identifies first as a woman, then as non-binary, who has lost out on work opportunities because of being labeled "difficult", whose movie largely flopped due to a sexist review from a male reviewer. But then again, Solloway minimizes the impact of Tambor's actions with regard to coworkers on the set of their (Solloway's) own show-- and that leaves a somewhat bad taste in this reader's mouth.  An interesting book, frustrating at times. Worth reading for an insider's view on Hollywood, on TV-making in the era of Netflix and Amazon.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Yzabel Ginsberg

    [I received a copy of this book through the First To Read program, in exchange for an honest review.] I had only watched the first season of “Transparent” before, but I guess I knew enough then to recognise the author’s name, and be interested in the book’s premise. As a word of warning, though, if you’re in the same case… uh, the book contains spoilers as to the next seasons. I wasn’t too happy about that, especially since I had been able to avoid them so far. Or maybe it was just unavoidable fo [I received a copy of this book through the First To Read program, in exchange for an honest review.] I had only watched the first season of “Transparent” before, but I guess I knew enough then to recognise the author’s name, and be interested in the book’s premise. As a word of warning, though, if you’re in the same case… uh, the book contains spoilers as to the next seasons. I wasn’t too happy about that, especially since I had been able to avoid them so far. Or maybe it was just unavoidable for starters? It’s also different from what I had expected, that is to say, more of a memoir, and not exactly “essays” or more structured writing about feminism, being non-binary, questioning, and so on. As such, while it remained interesting, spoilers notwithstanding, it felt kind of disjointed in places, and at the end, I felt like it hadn’t gone in depth into anything. The last part about Me Too and people coming out about Tambor was also… well, it played straight into the unfortunately usual “she came out about this and now the actor/the show is going to be ruined, we should’ve talked about this among ourselves only and seen where to go from there”. Soloway does acknowledge that it’s wrong, but it still felt like there was much more to say here, and it was brushed over. It’s not on the same level as powerful men paying women they have abused so that they keep silent, but the feeling remains somewhat similar nonetheless, like an afterthought, like something that was mentioned at the end only so that people wouldn’t dwell on it too much. I didn’t like that.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Holly Barker

    The title (and subtitle) of this book implies that it is a feminist manifesto and it is not. At least, not until the last third of the book. If that portion of the book had been expanded and worked additionally, I would have been much happier with this book (though that section does have it's own issues). However, the majority of the book is a naval-gazing memoir in one of the worst possible ways, wherein the author comes across more as a needy, selfish, self-congratulatory user. This saddens me The title (and subtitle) of this book implies that it is a feminist manifesto and it is not. At least, not until the last third of the book. If that portion of the book had been expanded and worked additionally, I would have been much happier with this book (though that section does have it's own issues). However, the majority of the book is a naval-gazing memoir in one of the worst possible ways, wherein the author comes across more as a needy, selfish, self-congratulatory user. This saddens me, because I think some of her work (Jill Soloway is a writer, director, and producer of, amongst other things, Transparent) is important to have out in the world. However, the way she got to this groundbreaking show was by utilizing her father's coming out as trans without her permission. While she acknowledges that she didn't know at the time that she shouldn't be doing this, she never quite apologizes for it, as she seems to be ok with using others to get what she wants and needs. This is especially apparent in her early treatment of Jeffrey Tambor's accusers. Here she has subtitled her book Toppling the Patriarchy, yet she participates in minimizing, silencing, and victim blaming. This book is such a lost opportunity, as I feel there are some very quality components of it and some important conversations about gender and gender identity as well as privilege. But it just doesn't get there at all. I received an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Fiona

    I have devoured this in two sittings over 1.5 days. It was a mix of insider film/TV industry gossip, the best dinner party guest, and therapy for highly-functioning highly-anxious workaholic creative types. A fast-read for fans of Soloway and their work.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Olga Fry

    Given the title of the memoir, I'd expected something different from the author. However, I thought it was less about Desire, Power, and Toppling the Patriarchy than it was about muddling through the writer's love life and an eerily close relationship with Faith, her sister, that she kept alluding to. It all felt oddly disjointed, jumping from topic to topic. Things moved so quickly you couldn't quite get a grasp on the scenes and what was being conveyed. Parts of the memoir were interesting. I w Given the title of the memoir, I'd expected something different from the author. However, I thought it was less about Desire, Power, and Toppling the Patriarchy than it was about muddling through the writer's love life and an eerily close relationship with Faith, her sister, that she kept alluding to. It all felt oddly disjointed, jumping from topic to topic. Things moved so quickly you couldn't quite get a grasp on the scenes and what was being conveyed. Parts of the memoir were interesting. I was fascinated by how Transparent came to be and how the writer was recognizing her own privilege in writing the show, whom she hired, etc. But some of it felt like name dropping and unnecessary. The end of the novel touched briefly on the accusations against Jeffrey Tambor, which also don't paint the writer in a good light during a conversation with the victim. Many thanks to NetGalley and Crown Publishing Group for this ARC.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl Clearwater

    The subtitle does not match the contents. It is a morbidly interesting behind-the-scenes account of Jill Soloway's questionable motivations in creating and representing the Transparent series that answers the question of whether any family could really be just like the Pfeffermans. The conversation between Soloway and Lysette at the end is particularly upsetting and is certainly no example of toppling the patriarchy nor of any ethical grappling with desire and power dynamics. Here's a good revie The subtitle does not match the contents. It is a morbidly interesting behind-the-scenes account of Jill Soloway's questionable motivations in creating and representing the Transparent series that answers the question of whether any family could really be just like the Pfeffermans. The conversation between Soloway and Lysette at the end is particularly upsetting and is certainly no example of toppling the patriarchy nor of any ethical grappling with desire and power dynamics. Here's a good review: https://www.affidavit.art/articles/no... in which Andrea Long Chu points out that "all we need remember is that being trans because you want the attention doesn’t make you “not really” trans; it just makes you annoying."

  15. 4 out of 5

    Emily Gibbons

    Updated Review: 30/10/18 I'm taking this book from 3 stars down to 2 stars. I saw this book, requested it, downloaded it, read it, and reviewed it in around 2 days. The problem with that is that I had a ton of mixed emotions when I was reading it which I didn't give myself time to parse through. I do think this memoir was successful on a couple of counts: that of Soloway's internal life and therapy sessions, and the exploration of their relationships. There was a lot of cringy content there, bu Updated Review: 30/10/18 I'm taking this book from 3 stars down to 2 stars. I saw this book, requested it, downloaded it, read it, and reviewed it in around 2 days. The problem with that is that I had a ton of mixed emotions when I was reading it which I didn't give myself time to parse through. I do think this memoir was successful on a couple of counts: that of Soloway's internal life and therapy sessions, and the exploration of their relationships. There was a lot of cringy content there, but I think Soloway did well in representing their emotions and development in relationships over the course of the memoir. Now we come to the bad parts. I originally gave this memoir a 3 star rating because I thought that some people might take some moral lessons away from the book. Soloway has some awareness throughout the memoir of how poorly they behaved in the past (they capitalised off Carrie's coming out to further their career without any sensitivity or discussion) and general bad decisions they made in terms of diversity, representation, and treating people well. However by the end of it we see that they have made some attempts to change the way they see and interact with people, trying to make Transparent a safe and collaborative space, etc. Except, even in the last leg of the memoir, where the allegations against Jeffrey Tambor are finally acknowledged, Solloway is still trying (even as far in the future as the writing of the memoir!) to defend their show and the 100% safe and respectful nature of the cast, despite the fact that literally everyone knows that isn't true. It's just disingenuous. Then of course, there's the scene with Trace Lysette in which Soloway, despite all their feminist work they've undertaken, essentially begs Lysette not to go public with the allegations and to 'keep it in the family' so that Soloway can preserve the integrity of their show. Um, no. This basically undermines every attempt Soloway has taken throughout the memoir to serve a moral lesson, and it's poor behaviour for anyone to try and model. In my original review I commended Soloway for improving so much as a person, but that was essentially what they were trying to convince the reader of, and it's so clearly not the truth when you take a step back and look at their actual actions. Original Review: 24/10/18 This memoir by Jill Soloway is about a lot of things. Mainly it's about the process of making, of creation, of producing a piece of art that you as the artist live within. It's about cultivating a co-operative and loving space where people are free to to contribute and lead without fear. It's about the film industry, about celebrity and bureaucracy. It's about feminism, feminist theory, queer theory, the #metoo movement. It's about self-exploration, therapy, overcoming your fears, and moving beyond the heteronormative relationships and families that society expects. It's about prioritising your family, in whatever form that takes, above your work, and about doing the work to understand and embrace the people closest to you. Sometimes while I was reading this, I thought the memoir was about too many things. Soloway jumps from topic to topic, from time frame to time frame, and the result is a bit of a confused timeline of too many aspects of their life and childhood. However, there's something about this confusion that's essential to the book, because the main running theme is exploration of the self through parenthood, gender, sexuality, and artistry, and with that comes a multitude of avenues of improvement. Ultimately I think this memoir was a valuable read, because Soloway doesn't shy away from their ignorant past, and frankly presents their less-than-perfect reaction to their parent's transition, how they took that story without permission and turned it into a TV show which went on to win them several Emmys, and their hypocrisy in the face of #metoo accusations. By the end of the memoir you can see how Soloway has not only actively embraced new experiences and knowledge to become a better and more understanding person, but literally gone through a physical and mental transformation to inhabit a new, more queer, more feminist world. While I frequently experienced irritation throughout the memoir at their behaviour, I think it's important to recognise that nobody is perfect, and if anything Soloway's ultimate aim of making the world a better and more accepting place is commendable. This memoir was written so soon after the investigation into Jeffrey Tambor that the details couldn't even be published, and the book ends with a bit of a cliffhanger as to the fate of Transparent - Amazon has given a go ahead for season 5 without Tambor, and I'll be interested to see where the story goes. Thanks to Netgalley and Penguin Random House UK, Ebury Publishing, for the advance copy in return for an unbiased review.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Tucker

    Soloway writes candidly about their experience learning that their parent was transgender and, consequently, about their own creation of the show Transparent. When "writing a TV show about people who are all fragments of you," they say, "you can never tell what comes first, the fiction or the reality." They acknowledge some famously cringeworthy missteps along the way, and this gives the reader a chance to see the missteps from Soloway's perspective. It isn't necessary to have watched Transparen Soloway writes candidly about their experience learning that their parent was transgender and, consequently, about their own creation of the show Transparent. When "writing a TV show about people who are all fragments of you," they say, "you can never tell what comes first, the fiction or the reality." They acknowledge some famously cringeworthy missteps along the way, and this gives the reader a chance to see the missteps from Soloway's perspective. It isn't necessary to have watched Transparent to appreciate the book, which is overall funny and insightful. It may be hard for many people to identify with Soloway's access to major media channels. They casually mention going to the Golden Globes, where "we all went into the huge ballroom, tight with our new family, which included Jeff Bezos, who I’d met before," and then winning the award for Best Comedy. Although this is reality, some suspension of disbelief will be needed from most readers. Near the end, this paragraph helped me understand what nonbinary identity feels like to Soloway: A lot of people have said to me, Hey, Jill, rather than expand what the word “trans” means, why can’t you just expand what the word “woman” means? Can’t you just be this newfangled type of woman, a short-haired, nonmakeup-wearing, sometimes really butch kind of a woman? If you could just call yourself that, then you would allow all women to expand their definitions of themselves and the word “woman.” And the best answer I have is to say that it is probably exactly that question that makes me ultimately want to identify as trans. That question centers cis-ness. It’s as strange as assuming everyone would want to be male or white. I want to be not cis. Implicit in the question of why wouldn’t I just take the identity with more privilege is a misunderstanding; that what I prefer is the identity that feels more like home. From knowledge gained elsewhere, it is obvious to me that transgender identity is often motivated primarily by discomfort in one sex/gender (so that transgender identity is a desire to be cisgender, just the other cisgender, a goal that can never be fulfilled) but that in plenty of other cases the transgender person prefers to be exactly what they are, has few regrets about not being cisgender, and does not aspire to emulate cisgender people. The same basic options could easily apply to nonbinary identity: it could be a flight from or a gravitation to. Here, Soloway articulates clearly how the latter feels true and empowering to them. After reading this memoir and perceiving it in reverse, it describes the ladder that brought them to this point.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Karla Strand

    Read my full review: http://www.karlajstrand.com/2018/10/20/jill-soloways-she-wants-it-a-brief-review/ As a fan of Transparent, I was excited to score an uncorrected proof of Jill Soloway’s (they, them, theirs) new book She Wants It: Desire, Power, and Toppling the Patriarchy from NetGalley. Soloway is also an alum of University of Wisconsin-Madison and queer, so I have always been curious about them. I was quickly hooked after the first few pages of reading about their childhood, their family, a Read my full review: http://www.karlajstrand.com/2018/10/20/jill-soloways-she-wants-it-a-brief-review/ As a fan of Transparent, I was excited to score an uncorrected proof of Jill Soloway’s (they, them, theirs) new book She Wants It: Desire, Power, and Toppling the Patriarchy from NetGalley. Soloway is also an alum of University of Wisconsin-Madison and queer, so I have always been curious about them. I was quickly hooked after the first few pages of reading about their childhood, their family, and their feminist awakening via a crush on a particular UW women’s studies professor who was a “k.d. lang-lookalike.” I couldn’t wait to hear Soloway’s words of wisdom about toppling the patriarchy. From the start, I found the book to be smart, sharp, and witty; Soloway would be someone to go have a drink with, to be sure. I laughed out loud a number of times. I enjoyed reading about Soloway’s kids, their career and the fight to get Transparent made, as well as the journeys Soloway and their parent went through regarding their gender identities. I also appreciated Soloway’s candor and bravery in sharing these stories as well as those concerning their own learning processes. Unfortunately, I was left a bit unfulfilled waiting for Soloway’s inspirational calls to action on fighting the patriarchy. Soloway explains the “Topple Principles” that were created to guide the development of Transparent. These included, “Our revolution must be intersectional,” and “Be brave.” They describe the formation of #TimesUp but with a generous sprinkling of name-droppings. Soloway tackles traditional gender roles and feeling as though they had fallen short of being the good mother, the good wife, the good daughter. These moments of vulnerability are powerful but too few. Soloway carefully confronts the sexual harassment allegations some trans co-stars made against Transparent lead Jeffrey Tambor. While candid about Tambor’s moodiness and downright aggression on set, Soloway relays the sexual harassment situation with an arm’s-length treatment that surprised and disappointed me. The main title, She Wants It, is spot-on as the major theme throughout the book is Soloway’s persistent quest for creative (and commercial) success. But based on the subtitle of the book, I wanted a deeper examination of the patriarchy from Soloway’s perspective as a (albeit white, privileged, and famous) nonbinary queer person in the entertainment industry. While I found the book intriguing as an entertainment memoir, it fell short as a manifesto on toppling the patriarchy. And this is okay – to be fair, Soloway never calls this a manifesto and they have more than enough juicy stories to fill a memoir as a heavy-hitter in Hollywood – but I wanted more. I was left wishing that Soloway had imparted more of their thoughts about how the reader can join the fray against the patriarchy. A quick read, the book is enjoyable overall. I would recommend this book to fans of Transparent or Jill Soloway’s other works; I could see how those who haven’t watched Transparent may not get as much out of the book. It’s also recommended for those who enjoy celebrity memoirs or those who crave reading nonbinary voices.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Diane Hernandez

    She Wants It is a Hollywood film and television memoir by Jill Soloway. Jill is the writer/director of Amazon’s Transparent. Transparent is based on Jill’s real life. Jill’s father was depressed and a mostly absent workaholic father during her childhood. After Jill and her sister, Faith, went to college, their parents divorced. During an early morning phone call, Jill is the first family member to which her father comes out to as trans. Jill’s first thought is this is part of her story and she was She Wants It is a Hollywood film and television memoir by Jill Soloway. Jill is the writer/director of Amazon’s Transparent. Transparent is based on Jill’s real life. Jill’s father was depressed and a mostly absent workaholic father during her childhood. After Jill and her sister, Faith, went to college, their parents divorced. During an early morning phone call, Jill is the first family member to which her father comes out to as trans. Jill’s first thought is this is part of her story and she was going to tell it. If her father can become Carrie London, why can’t she become the film writer/director she always aspired to be? Jill polished up an old script and it was green-lighted. After post-production is complete and Afternoon Delight is submitted to Sundance, Jill goes with Faith to meet their father for the first time as a woman. When her terminally ill aunt asks her to deliver a card to her father asking him not to dress as a woman at the aunt’s funeral, she begins writing Transparent. She Wants It is a great memoir of how someone hurtles the obstacles of getting a screenplay developed in Hollywood. It also incorporates a bit about Jill’s life as a wife and mother of two. There are many psychological asides about life and her own journey to understanding the non-binary world. I was expecting more about the real-life childhood experiences of having a trans parent. However, for those looking for a Hollywood memoir, this is a good choice. It just wasn’t what I was looking for and I never felt connected to the author though her personal story is heartfelt. 3 stars. Thanks to Crown Publishing and NetGalley for an advance copy.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    I think Soloway wrote/published this book too soon. Jill Soloway is the show runner for Transparent, who came out as non-binary not too long ago and who, ironically, was seen as a leader in the #metoo movement even though later Transparent’s star Jeffrey Tambor was accused of sexually harassing two trans employees on the set of the show. In this title, we get a little Hollywood gossip, some insider stuff about how tv works these days, and the deeply selfish and fascinating story of how a person I think Soloway wrote/published this book too soon. Jill Soloway is the show runner for Transparent, who came out as non-binary not too long ago and who, ironically, was seen as a leader in the #metoo movement even though later Transparent’s star Jeffrey Tambor was accused of sexually harassing two trans employees on the set of the show. In this title, we get a little Hollywood gossip, some insider stuff about how tv works these days, and the deeply selfish and fascinating story of how a person traversed their midlife and identity crises. I say “too soon” because I feel like Soloway is still in the midst of everything: reckoning with an abuser on their show, reckoning with their gender identity, and wrestling with self awareness in general and how their decisions and behaviors impact the people in their lives. One twitter person wondered if Soloway gave all non-binary people a bad name with their selfishness, self absorption and outrageous privilege. I think they are honestly wrestling with these things (in addition to wanting to topple the patriarchy). A few more years of self work probably would have made for a better, more reflective memoir. Despite its unfinished feeling, I still appreciated its attempts at sharing Soloway’s growing understanding of the dynamic changes occurring within queer and feminist culture, changes that are important for 21st century westerners to understand. So my final advice, if you can look past the obvious self-absorption, you’re going to get some good ideas of where millennial culture is headed.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jill Elizabeth

    Wow - I burned through this one in a day! Jill Soloway's book is a combination of memoir, biography of her television/film career, personal manifesto, coming out story, and hollywood insider tale... It covers a LOT of ground, and sometimes that breadth felt a little overwhelming, story-wise, and things skipped around a bit more than makes for easy reading. Still, the writing was easy to engage with and her voice rang crystal-clear throughout and that helped keep me fully present in the story the Wow - I burned through this one in a day! Jill Soloway's book is a combination of memoir, biography of her television/film career, personal manifesto, coming out story, and hollywood insider tale... It covers a LOT of ground, and sometimes that breadth felt a little overwhelming, story-wise, and things skipped around a bit more than makes for easy reading. Still, the writing was easy to engage with and her voice rang crystal-clear throughout and that helped keep me fully present in the story the entire time. It's a frenetic upside-down tumble through the rabbit hole of a life, with all the attendant highs and lows one would expect to encounter on such a journey. The truths were occasionally difficult - she's very brave, Jill Soloway is, to be so fearlessly revelatory - and often bittersweet, and they made for a fascinating read! Thanks to the Penguin First to Read program for my review copy.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Angie

    As an account of the Amazon show Transparent and a window into building a team based on LGBTQ inclusion, this is a great story. As an account of sexual identity and argument against the patriarchy, it's not so great. Soloway is exuberant in her efforts to explore her sexual identity and rain affection on those around her, but she also comes off as thoughtless and selfish in her relationships. This is an interesting read, but if I were at a party with her, I'd be edging out the door. It's messy a As an account of the Amazon show Transparent and a window into building a team based on LGBTQ inclusion, this is a great story. As an account of sexual identity and argument against the patriarchy, it's not so great. Soloway is exuberant in her efforts to explore her sexual identity and rain affection on those around her, but she also comes off as thoughtless and selfish in her relationships. This is an interesting read, but if I were at a party with her, I'd be edging out the door. It's messy and energetic and entertaining. And I learned some interesting things. But it's not the reasoned examination I was hoping for and am still am hoping for. I got a copy to review from First to Read.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Lorri Steinbacher

    There's some interesting stuff in here, but if you were reading it for in-depth analysis you might come away disappointed. I enjoyed the personal aspects of Soloway's story. I'm not even sure that it needed analysis. It could stand on its own as a personal narrative of someone becoming aware of their non-binary identity. This book is at its best when it is describing personal issues and realizations. Soloway's description of falling in love with Eileen Myles is worth reading the whole book.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Maria

    I am always late to the party – metaphorically speaking, I mean. I am usually early for everything else because I do not know how to negotiate a late entrance. I feel like at some point in these last few years I fell into a deep sleep from which I remember… well, nothing. Finding my way back into the real world has been difficult. I keep being reminded that I have missed lifetimes of content and there are stimuli all around, surrounding me, enfolding me, suffocating me. I end up catching glimpse I am always late to the party – metaphorically speaking, I mean. I am usually early for everything else because I do not know how to negotiate a late entrance. I feel like at some point in these last few years I fell into a deep sleep from which I remember… well, nothing. Finding my way back into the real world has been difficult. I keep being reminded that I have missed lifetimes of content and there are stimuli all around, surrounding me, enfolding me, suffocating me. I end up catching glimpses, not having enough mental space to go through wholeness. Then I found Transparent. It did not demand attention. Instead, it offered itself to me in the most unreserved of ways. I felt like I was gaining time instead of wasting it, gaining life. It had, it has, a soul, and that is why I just finished reading She Wants It: Desire, Power, and Toppling the Patriarchy. This book is not a lecture. This book is a memoir, a life. As such, there are questionable decisions, intrusive thoughts, delirious moments, unabashed vulnerability. The reader is taken on a tour during which doors are unlocked, windows are opened, basements revisited and attics discovered. There is light and darkness, lost and found, ashes and dust. There is everything you would expect to find if you were given a free pass to someone’s mind… and more. The writing is incredibly open, honest, real. It feels like a conversation, the sort one dreams of having with a stranger while stranded at an airport. In this non-place, headed to different corners of the world that will probably never again meet, one thing leads to another and words flow and fill time without consequence. Later on, at random moments and stages, bits and pieces will be recalled and become definite. She Wants It: Desire, Power, and Toppling the Patriarchy by Jill Soloway is a thought-provoking journey through a landscape on the brink of a revolution, both personally and universally. It might not be what you are looking for, but you will find hope in it. ARC provided by Penguin Random House UK, Ebury Publishing via NetGalley.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Gardner

    Wow. Can a book be a career ender? This might be in the running if so. The narcissism, entitlement and bizarre insecurity disguised as bravery is just so insane I actually kept reading cause it was a car wreck in literary form. The bummer of it all is that there are about 3-5 really interesting and revolutionary ideas that they propose about the way a non patriarchiarchal society could look like and they were fantastic. But the rest was a true troll

  25. 5 out of 5

    M.

    I posted a full review on my blog: https://meganmilks.wordpress.com/2018... Here's an excerpt: It’s been four short seasons for Transparent; four big years for trans representation and visibility. Since Transparent made history in 2014 as the first TV show with a leading trans character (albeit played by a non-trans actor), its creator Jill Soloway has gone from being an unlikely spokesperson for the trans and queer communities to a member of those communities. In their new memoir She Wants It: De I posted a full review on my blog: https://meganmilks.wordpress.com/2018... Here's an excerpt: It’s been four short seasons for Transparent; four big years for trans representation and visibility. Since Transparent made history in 2014 as the first TV show with a leading trans character (albeit played by a non-trans actor), its creator Jill Soloway has gone from being an unlikely spokesperson for the trans and queer communities to a member of those communities. In their new memoir She Wants It: Desire, Power, and Toppling the Patriarchy, Soloway charts these changes, telling the story of their own rapid reorientations in the wake of their parent coming out as trans at age 70. Electrified by new queer feminist insights and an impassioned interrogation of gender and power in Hollywood, She Wants It is an unusual celebrity memoir. But in the end, it’s a celebrity memoir. If it’s better than most, still we want more. That’s because Soloway, creator of the Emmy-award-winning TV show Transparent, is an unusual celebrity, a nonbinary queer feminist with legit creative power and real cultural sway. In She Wants It, they are still astonished at all that; and while the “How did I get here?” humility butts heads with their class privilege (c.f. the “sad supermarket Brie” bought by a personal assistant for their kid’s birthday party (wah wah)): hey, it’s a celebrity memoir. We read it for access to the celebrity world, and Soloway delivers, describing meetings and parties and dinners with the Duplass brothers, Mel Brooks, Shonda Rhimes, among others; directing Kathryn Hahn and Kevin Bacon. More notable, perhaps, are the different celebrity worlds made adjacent here: trans artist Zachary Drucker sharing chapter space with Jeff Bezos; dyke poet Eileen Myles rubbing pages with Reese Witherspoon.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Nelson

    This book was not what I expected at all! I read the summary before I put in a request so I thought I knew the basics, but in reality I had no clue. I also had no idea who the author was so I thought I could learn a bit about her by reading this; and boy did I learn a lot! This memoir tells the story of Jill Soloway and her exploration into sexuality. It all starts with a phone call from her father telling her that he is trans. He has a new name that he likes to go by when he is in his comfort z This book was not what I expected at all! I read the summary before I put in a request so I thought I knew the basics, but in reality I had no clue. I also had no idea who the author was so I thought I could learn a bit about her by reading this; and boy did I learn a lot! This memoir tells the story of Jill Soloway and her exploration into sexuality. It all starts with a phone call from her father telling her that he is trans. He has a new name that he likes to go by when he is in his comfort zone dressed more femine. The name is Carrie instead of Harry. Jill of course was floored by this revelation and continues on a course of trying to understand her father and his need to be trans, and she does all this through her work as a writer and producer. She ends up making a show called Transparent, which explores a family relationship when they are going through this same thing. Throughout this process and Jill's personal life she finds a lot out about herself and what really makes her happy. I feel like there are some people that would appreciate this book and Jill's exploration, while some would not appreciate some of the sexuality in the book. I liked it because it explored a world that I don't know much about. I also appreciate her brutal honesty about everything, including her own faults. It takes a lot for someone to open up and write a book like this.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth Madrigal

    I received this book via First to Read. This is a deeply honest book written by a deeply flawed individual, one who knows and acknowledges where they have messed up and failed people along the journey of their life. However, I can't help but feel after reading it that they've decided that recognizing an error is enough to make up for it. There were certain passages that I highlighted because they illuminated experiences I could relate to, and I think that Soloway's writing is best when it's discu I received this book via First to Read. This is a deeply honest book written by a deeply flawed individual, one who knows and acknowledges where they have messed up and failed people along the journey of their life. However, I can't help but feel after reading it that they've decided that recognizing an error is enough to make up for it. There were certain passages that I highlighted because they illuminated experiences I could relate to, and I think that Soloway's writing is best when it's discussing broader truths they've learned throughout their life. The messiness happens–as it often does–when trying to apply these truths to the nitty-gritty and everyday and personal. One notable illustration of this is Soloway describing the new and freeing ways to explore gender and queerness when dating femme women, of who is the pursuer and who is pursues, relating it to "this must be how cis hetero men feel"...only to then later try and apply this to the actions of abusive men and explain why they might have been confused. The way Soloway describes first being gung-ho and excited as #MeToo unfolded, even being instrumental in the development of Time's Up, and then quickly shying away and even trying to protect their show over the protection of their abused employees, is the most telling illustration of how something is easy in the abstract but much more difficult when we're faced with the challenge affecting us personally. Watching Soloway struggle to acknowledge and use their privilege for good (and watching them fail, often) is a reminder to myself and all readers that we need to work much, much harder and be much, much more ready to be humble if we are truly as dedicated to intersectionality as we say we are. As a final note, for other readers like me who are triggered by relationships between sisters written as pseudo-erotic (think: Lena Dunham) you might want to skip the first chapters in the book where they're describing their relationship with their sister. Even if the reality is a healthy relationship, for somebody like me with a lot of baggage brought to the table it did make me uncomfortable.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Dominic

    I'm between a 4 and a 5 on this one, but I'm enthusiastically rounding up because of the many layers this book offers. Because of these layers, I think there are so many ways for potential readers to find something of value. I would say this truly is a "must read" for fans of Soloway's show Transparent. It makes me want to binge and more closely study all 4 seasons all over again (AND see Afternoon Delight AND see I Love Dick). But the book is also insightful about creativity and the creator's pr I'm between a 4 and a 5 on this one, but I'm enthusiastically rounding up because of the many layers this book offers. Because of these layers, I think there are so many ways for potential readers to find something of value. I would say this truly is a "must read" for fans of Soloway's show Transparent. It makes me want to binge and more closely study all 4 seasons all over again (AND see Afternoon Delight AND see I Love Dick). But the book is also insightful about creativity and the creator's process. If you've ever wondered about the heart and sweat and roadblocks faced by the creators of your favourite TV shows, you will find this book fascinating. The most interesting layer for me was when Soloway explores her personal journey—as a woman and a mother and a sexual being and a person. There were huge takeaways on just existing that I'm pretty sure I will remember and want to return to. There have been some odd first reviews on this site for this book (I won my ARC on Instagram [thank you @prhlgbrq !] and knew exactly what I was getting into when reading). I might even say some of these reviews are unfair. She Wants It doesn't claim to be gender theory (while I admit the subhead is a tad misleading), nor is it a "celebrity biography." This is clearly a memoir about a creative person trying to be her best self, all the hits and misses included. And it's moving. If you find yourself on a similar journey, I think you'll love this book as much as I did. I loved her vulnerability and honesty—the fear and the false starts and the faults, both acknowledged and hard to swallow. I have a huge appreciation for Jill Soloway now (plus, I found out she wrote one of my favourite episodes of TV, period: Six Feet Under's "Back to the Garden"). She's the kind of person I would love to be friends with, and maybe that's why I flew through this book. It felt like a coffee date that ended up taking all afternoon. Big thanks to Penguin Random House for holding the giveaway, for I may have never picked this up otherwise.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Vanessa

    this is a celebrity memoir, mostly about creating the tv show 'Transparent' - not what I thought I was getting when I ordered it. Skip it, but do read this bit about professional sports. And, someone, please tell me: where can I order a GADSBY jersey? "Okay, so we're now talking billions upon billions of dollars being spent to help men watch men do things of interest to mostly men; the culture offering them exactly what they love, all weekend long, in the form of professional sports. A whole sec this is a celebrity memoir, mostly about creating the tv show 'Transparent' - not what I thought I was getting when I ordered it. Skip it, but do read this bit about professional sports. And, someone, please tell me: where can I order a GADSBY jersey? "Okay, so we're now talking billions upon billions of dollars being spent to help men watch men do things of interest to mostly men; the culture offering them exactly what they love, all weekend long, in the form of professional sports. A whole section for them about this every day in the newspaper. How would it be to have things that you love surrounding you? Everywhere? My favorite sport is feminist arguing. I'd love an Emily Nussbaum vs Lena Dunham faceoff. To hear Roxane Gay and bell hooks disagreeing about a nuance around, say, consent through an intersectional lens. And then, they get into it with, say, Patrissa Khan-Cullors and Linda Sarsour, with a couple of Glorias - both Steinem and Allred. What if the thing I like, feminist arguing, was on TV all weekend long? Women wearing jerseys and carrying keychains that had names like “Tina Fey’ and “Alicia Garza” and Tarana Burke” on them? What if I got to watch this collision of all of my very favorite people, every Sunday, all day at home in my sweatpants with a beer? And my whole family had to watch and cheer with me! What if there were whole shows devoted to cooking in parking lots at these events? Picture, Masha Gessen and Jessica Valenti, sitting across from each other in folding chairs on a huge field with close-ups on the jumbotron. And if I didn’t want to watch the Gessen/Valenti game at home, I could walk into a bar and there would be a bunch of women watching it. And then, when the matches weren’t on TV, I’d be clicking away, entering names into an excel spreadsheet where I’d be betting on fantasy feminist arguing. Now this, this would be privilege.”

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sam

    She Wants It is incredibly honest and open, even to the detriment of the author. It is Jill Soloway's origin story. One day, the phone rings. Jill's moody and depressed father comes out to his daughter as trans. He has been living a lie his whole life, casting a shadow over his marriage and children. Now he has given himself permission to be his true self: Carrie London. Up until this point, Jill has been moderately successful as a screenwriter. Her father's story provides the catalyst for the cr She Wants It is incredibly honest and open, even to the detriment of the author. It is Jill Soloway's origin story. One day, the phone rings. Jill's moody and depressed father comes out to his daughter as trans. He has been living a lie his whole life, casting a shadow over his marriage and children. Now he has given himself permission to be his true self: Carrie London. Up until this point, Jill has been moderately successful as a screenwriter. Her father's story provides the catalyst for the creation of Transparent, the ground-breaking hit show. More importantly, Jill is set upon a journey into how she really is. She transforms from being a wife defined in terms of pleasing a man into a non-binary super ambitious superstar. Jill goes from being unhappily married to a typically self-interested man one day to a passionate love with a female friend the next. In following her desires, and the opportunities they create, there is collateral damage. Jill is giddy with new love, and her children seem to get neglected. It would be fascinating to hear their side of the story. Jill does evolve into the parent she is comfortable being, a better father than a mother. Before this happens though, she does a lot of finding herself. Jill writes about her mother having lots of affairs. Now it is her turn. Fortunately for the reader, Jill and family are considerably nicer than the utterly disagreeable Pfefferman family in Transparent. Jill does not just promote trans issues through the show, but also through casting and the writer's room. The project threatens to unravel through the outrageous behaviour of Jeffrey Tambor, the lead actor. As the MeToo movement rises up, Tambor is shown to have been sexually agressive with other cast members. As the book comes to a close, things are still up in the air. Jill, however, is a transformed person.

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