For Today I Am a Boy (Paperback)

By Kim Fu

Mariner Books, 9780544538528, 256pp.

Publication Date: March 10, 2015

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Description

Publishing Triangle's Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction, Winner
2015 PEN/ Hemingway Award, Finalist
Lambda Literary Award, Finalist
Longlisted for the 2014 Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize
A Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection for Spring 2014
A New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice
Shortlisted for the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize


" A] sharply written debut...A coming-of-age tale for our time." --Seattle Times


At birth, Peter Huang is given the Chinese name Juan Chaun, "powerful king." To his parents, newly settled in small-town Ontario, he is the exalted only son in a sea of daughters, the one who will finally fulfill his immigrant father's dreams of Western masculinity. Peter and his sisters grow up in an airless house of order and obligation, though secrets and half-truths simmer beneath the surface. At the first opportunity, each of the girls lights out on her own. But for Peter, escape is not as simple as fleeing his parents' home. Though his father crowned him "powerful king," Peter knows otherwise. He knows he is really a girl. With the help of his far-flung sisters and the sympathetic souls he finds along the way, Peter inches ever closer to his own life, his own skin, in this darkly funny, emotionally acute, stunningly powerful debut.

"Sensitively wrought . . . For Today I Am a Boy is as much about the construction of self as the consequences of its unwitting destruction--and what happens when its acceptance seems as foreign as another country." --New York Times Book Review

"Subtle and controlled, with flashes of humor and warmth."
--Slate

"Keeps you reading. Told in snatches of memory that hurt so much they have the ring of truth."
--Bust magazine


Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com

  1. Kim Fu quotes from the song “For Today I Am a Boy” by Antony and the Johnsons: “One day I’ll grow up, I’ll be a beautiful woman. One day I’ll grow up, I’ll be a beautiful girl. But for today, I am a child. For today, I am a boy.” What questions does this quotation evoke? Does the reference lend nuances to the title?generic viagra price canada
  2. Peter grows up associating with boys like Roger and Ollie, who are rough, physical, and crude. In one powerful incident Peter is pushed by Roger and Ollie to attack a young girl. When Peter returns home, his mother slaps him, yet his father smiles and tells him he will have his own room. How does Peter handle these mixed messages?generic viagra price canada
  3. There’s not much interaction between Peter and his father, yet when interaction does occur, it provides powerful messages about men and women. Consider when Peter’s father says, “Women bleed more,” or when he refers to “women’s work.” What do these moments create for Peter?generic viagra price canada
  4. Chef shares the story of how he had sex with a man he thought was a woman. Peter fixates on the conversation between Chef and Simon. With whose perspective about this episode do you agree? Do you think it’s wrong of people to deceive others about such matters? Why?generic viagra price canada
  5. After finding some friends who seem to understand and support his situation, Peter begins to experience life as a woman. He dances with a man during a Halloween party, yet part of him will not let go of his plight: “It’s Halloween, it’s just a game, it isn’t real.” What is it that Peter needs to feel secure?generic viagra price canada
  6. Eileen provides the final catalyst for Peter. “You don’t have to look like that to be a woman. That’s not what being a woman means” (237). Do you agree with her? What does it mean to be a woman? How has society defined what it means to be a woman?generic viagra price canada
  7. Peter says that he “could not pin down what would be enough, other than resetting time, going back before my birth, before my conception, and finding a way to choose” (115). Has Peter found peace and acceptance?generic viagra price canada
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