Balls: It Takes Some to Get Some
Author: Chris Edwards
Greenleaf Book Group Press (Oct. 4, 2016), 264 pp.
ISBN: 978-1626343252; Hardcover, $24.95
Chris Edwards grew up in Wayland, an upper middle-class town in Massachusetts halfway between Boston and Worcester with an extended family that included sisters Jill and Wendy, doting parents, and an Armenian grandmother on the Cape who spoiled them with food and love all-around. Friday night dinners in Wayland were reserved for chicken and pilaf. Edwards’ dad, Ed Eskandarian, was a hard-working ad executive who rose to be CEO of Arnold, one of the country’s leading ad agencies.
Born a girl, Edwards always felt like a boy. Armenian on both sides, he had dark hair and olive skin. Growing up as a teenager in the 1980s, he brushed aside suggestions that he was a lesbian and was mortified at how much hair was growing all over his female body. When a first doctor diagnosed him simply with hirsutism (excessive hair growth), he knew that he needed a new doctor: He finds one in the no-nonsense Cambridge shrink Bet MacArthur.
For many readers, the most intriguing aspects of the book will likely revolve around the author’s female-to-male transition. But [there is] a wider and more universal story to tell about self-acceptance, a narrative that transcends gender and sexuality.
For many readers, the most intriguing aspects of the book will likely revolve around the author’s female-to-male transition. But as Edwards has pointed out elsewhere, he has a wider and more universal story to tell about self-acceptance, a narrative that transcends gender and sexuality. As he told the Wayland Patch in 2017: “While my transition is the backdrop, at its core the book is really a story about family, friends and the courage to be your true self.” The other part of the author’s equation involves teaching others about transgender people: “You can expect to get some laughs, learn how to be better allies to transgender people in your community, school or workplace and walk away with some tips on how you too have the power to control how other people define you.”
Edwards grew up at a time when the word transgender wasn’t part of our vernacular, but I would bet that a lot of people still don’t know exactly what the term means, with all its myriad implications for gender and sexual identity. Balls: It Takes Some to Get Some gives valuable insight into some important distinctions in a way that is both entertaining and personal. Using his experience as a compass, Edwards guides the reader through concepts that are not always well understood, like the difference between gender and sexual attraction. A straight woman, for example, may have a sex change, but that doesn’t necessarily affect or change her sexual preferences. Conversely, a woman who is a lesbian will still like women after the operation. The first will now live as a gay man, the second as a straight one. Edwards falls into the latter camp.
Edwards left the advertising world—where he was an award-winning copywriter—to become a motivational speaker on the subject of being transgender. We hear a lot about male-to female sex reassignment but less about the other way around, so this is a refreshing read. Heck, Edwards even went to his high-school reunion as a man: Now that takes balls!