Alice in Genderland: A Crossdresser Comes of Age.

Author:Scheibner, Gunnar
Position:Book review

Alice in Genderland: A Crossdresser Comes of Age

By Richard J. Novic, M.D.

iUniverse, 2005, 279 pp., $19.95 (soft cover)


Click on cover to buy this book from Alice in Genderland is the memoir of Dr. Richard Novic, a successful psychiatrist who, in a certain milieu, is known as Alice: a six feet tall brunette who likes shopping, dancing, and chatting with the girls. The story gives an account of Novic's search for an acceptable self-image as a transgendered person, and illustrates the enormous effort and courage that are required to lead a lifestyle that deviates from societal norms. Novic describes his transgendered life from initial explorations with his sister's underwear at age eleven to nights out in public more or less passable as a "real" woman.

Novic's existence as Alice, who has a male lover, may seem unorthodox taking into consideration that, in his male persona, he is a happily married man and father of two. However, the reader will learn that all of this is possible concomitantly, and that dual existences do not seem to be problematic for the author.

Alice in Genderland addresses various issues pertaining to crossdressing and transgenderism. Central to Novic's account are the sexual, emotional, and social aspects of his crossdressing experience which are particularly well illustrated in this book. As a teenager who attempts to make sense of his desires, Novic associated his crossdressing behaviour solely with the sexual arousal that he experiences through it. Given this association, the sexually explicit nature of Alice in Generland is not surprising. From masturbation involving anal penetration with carrots to numerous other detailed accounts of heterosexual and homosexual intercourse, the book leaves little to the imagination.

The author's crossdressing evolved from being an activity that was sexually arousing to denoting an identity that was psychologically fulfilling. In the author's words: " ... life has taken me from I need to be a girl in order to have an organism to as long as I'm a girl, I don't even need one" (p. 247). The book gives intriguing insight into the emotions and desires that, perhaps, only transgendered individuals are able to experience. For example, Novic describes how he entertained thoughts such as: "Wouldn't any guy be curious? ... It's not that I wanted to try on Trudy's clothes so much; it's just that I couldn't say no to the opportunity" (p. 28). Particularly well...

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