Nevada, by Imogen Binnie
Publisher: Topside Press
Release Date: April 2, 2013
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Nevada is the darkly comedic story of Maria Griffiths, a young trans woman living in New York City and trying to stay true to her punk values while working retail. When she finds out her girlfriend has lied to her, the world she thought she’d carefully built for herself begins to unravel, and Maria sets out on a journey that will most certainly change her forever.
Alcohol and Drug Abuse
Grand Theft Auto
I just finished reading Nevada and I have very mixed feelings about it. On one hand the transgender rep is phenomenal, on the other, the plot is a two part series of events that goes absolutely nowhere.
I picked this book up to learn more about the T in the LGBTQIA spectrum because I admittedly don’t know a lot about trans people but I’d like to remedy that. I have a family member who is genderfluid/nonbinary so they’ve helped me become more educated but I felt there was still so much more I needed to learn. Well, this book definitely has everything a person could want to know about the thoughts and feelings of a person who has already transitioned and someone who has just begun to consider that possibility. It’s own voices so, yeah, this is an excellent source, and I would recommend it to anyone who is or feels they might be trans, but also anyone who knows or lives with a transgender person and wants to get a better of idea of what they’re going through. I feel like my eyes have been opened to so many things a trans person might be dealing with.
Something that bothered me is that there is no use of quotation marks for any of the dialogue so at times it was difficult to tell who was speaking. I can’t figure out why it was written that way because the technical aspects of the writing was, otherwise, quite good. The characters felt real and New York as a backdrop was painted in a way that was very easy to visualize.
The book is written in third person but it’s mostly told from Maria’s point of view, at least until the second part when we meet James H. They both think about their gender to the point of obsession which makes sense because transitioning isn’t a change you can make and then promptly forget all about. I would say that the majority of the book is about those internal thoughts and the coping mechanisms these characters use to get through negative situations and the day-to-day as well. The author also does a good job of depicting how Maria deals with (or avoids) the people around her, the people she meets on the internet, and the LGBT+ groups who aren’t always as welcoming as they should be.
Being that this story is fiction I would’ve liked to have seen more to the plot. The book just ends mid thought, and it left me wishing that there would have been some resolution to everything that had happened up until that moment. It felt depressing and pointless but perhaps the point was for the reader to see that there is no solution. Yes, I think that these characters could lay off the drugs and alcohol and would benefit from some therapy but I also think, for a lot of trans people, this is a constant battle they live with on their own with no help, and so Nevada is just a snippet of this particular time in their lives. The thing is, there are happy trans people in happy relationships so it doesn’t feel right that it’s not even considered as a possibility.
It’s because of this that I can’t give this book a higher rating. What I thought in the beginning was an incredible story that trans folks, especially young trans women could relate to and maybe feel less alone, turned into a destructive journey that leaves the reader feeling like there’s no hope that things might get better. I may not know what it’s really like to walk in a trans person’s shoes, but I do know that, with most things in life, running away from your problems is rarely the answer. For that I say read this if you’d like to learn more about transgender people but do so with caution.
Imogen Binnie writes a column for Maximum Rocknroll magazine as well as the zines The Fact That It’s Funny Doesn’t Make It A Joke and Stereotype Threat. Her novel Nevada won a 2013 MOTHA award and then lost at the Lambda Literary Awards. She lives near Keene, New Hampshire with her girlfriend and their jerk dog.
You can purchase Nevada from:
Barnes & Noble
I paid for this novel with my own bank but it’s also available on Kindle Unlimited.