Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Anomaly / Thea Atkinson

Genre: Literary Fiction

Approximate word count: 65-70,000 words

Availability Kindle: YES    Nook: YES    DTB: NO


Thea Atkinson makes her home in Nova Scotia. She has been writing since she was twelve and has four other books in addition to Anomaly available for your Kindle. For more information, visit her blog.


Born with male organs and named Robert by his parents, J (her preferred name) is a female trapped in the body of a man. Yes, he (make that she) is conflicted. Not only with himself, which leads to self-destructive behavior, but also with much of the world.


I’m going to cheat and start with a quote snatched out of the From the Author section on Amazon because it describes the heart of this book so well.

When I first began writing this book and realized that my main character was a trans person, I got really nervous. What did I know about transgender? I even remember saying to my daughter, "Why would my muse give me a transgender character to work with?"

The deeper I got into the writing, the more I realized that it was about the human condition. It was about bias and prejudice and the need for society to put labels on things that we don't understand. It just so happened that my character was transgender. The same as if my character just happened to be a man and as an author I'm a woman.

Atkinson succeeded in communicating all of those things. The cliché about walking in someone else’s shoes applies as well. Her portrayal of J is both sympathetic and, for those who have ever had someone think less of them because of being different, potentially eye opening. Anomaly is not a book I would have been likely to read on my own, despite it coming close to issues that I care about. Yet, I can’t help but think I’m a better person for having done so.

Anomaly is also an excellent example of why the rise of Indie publishing we’re experiencing is a good thing. I find it hard to picture this book attracting a contract with a traditional publisher. Not because the writing or the story isn’t good enough, they are. But because of marketing reasons. How would we position it? Who’s the audience? Can we sell enough? This book deserves an audience and you owe it to yourself to read it.

Format/Typo Issues:

A small number of typos, although not frequent enough or of the type to distract from the story.

Rating: ***** Five stars


Anonymous said...

holy frijoles! Wow. thanks so much Al! I'm absolutely stoked that you read it and GOT it. thanks so so much for reading this and writing such thoughtful comments on it.


Anonymous said...

I found your blog because someone linked to the absolutely hilarious goings on over "The Greek Seaman." I'm glad I followed the link. I think I'll be reading through this site for quite a while and I suspect this will be the first of your reviews to prompt me to head over to the kindle store for a preview and possible purchase.

Anonymous said...

What is with that description? Trans women are women, so why are you calling her 'he'?

BooksAndPals said...

Anon, Thanks for the comment. The Amazon book description uses exclusivly male pronouns, J's gender in the eyes of many people based on physical makeup. When I was writing my description that didn't seem correct.

However J, the character, also felt conflicted. There are periods that he (I know) feels like a man (or at least tries to be like one). There are periods that she feels like a woman. If you look again I actually use both - in one spot both at once which I hoped would make it obvious that I was aware of using both. I was trying to convey the conflict that J feels about her situation.

Booksy said...

Interesting! Not my kind of topic at all - but your review puts this on the LIST. The author would have had it easier in my native language (Finnish) though, since the third person pronoun is gender-neutral :D

On second thought, maybe that would be a loss, making it harder to express the conflict.

Patricia JL said...

I read this book and loved it. I couldn't get enough of J and his/her struggled. I think you did great with your description Al, it does give a glimpse of the conflict J feels throughout the entire story.

CF Winn said...

Three CHEERS for Thea! I am intrigued and will pick up a copy to read while I'm on vacation in January! Thanks for finding and profiling what sounds like a wonderful author and story. If only there were more of you looking out for us indie authors, we'd be able to concentrate all our energy on what we love. *clink X 3*