Title: His Womanly Ways Author Name & Publisher: K. Lynn (Torquere Press) Publication Date & Length: May 27, 2015 - 229 pgs
Alex is a womanizer. He makes no excuses for it. Yes, he picks up women at the local bar, leaving them with just a memory of a good night and a good lay, but he hasn't had any complaints yet. That is, until he picks up the wrong woman. Not satisfied to be tossed aside as just another notch in Alex's bedpost, she curses him, wishing he “knew what it was like for a woman.” And he's about to find out what she means, embarking on a genderswap journey that he can't stop.
Alex starts slowly gaining secondary female characteristics. Waking up with his cock gone, replaced by a vagina, was bad enough. Then it gets worse, as his body becomes more like a woman than the man he used to be. Alex tries to hide the changes he's going through, for fear that someone will discover his secret, but keeping this quite literally “under wraps” might be impossible before the curse runs its course.
With the help of his female best friend, Eve, Alex tries to deal with who he is becoming. He feels like he's lost his identity, his mind not matching the body he now has. But Eve sticks by him, and they become closer as Alex's changes progress. What started out as friendship may become something more before Alex's journey is over. Perhaps this curse was actually a blessing in disguise.
Note: It is possible that some trans, non-binary, and gender non-conforming people might find aspects of this story triggering. It's about a cisgender (i.e. not transgender) man who is transformed against his will by some unknown force to have the body of a cisgender woman while retaining his psyche.If you're looking for a book about what it's genuinely like to be transgender, gender fluid, or non-binary gender, this isn't it. But if you want a fun and interesting read about what it might be like to have to adapt to a body different from the one you had, this might be right up your alley. I have very mixed feelings about this story. On the one hand, it was light-hearted and entertaining, and there were definitely some relatable elements. On the other hand, I think we ought to be well past the stage where we need metaphors to understand what trans people go through every day.
I found myself really frustrated at the way it felt very much like an emphasis on women having to conform to societal beauty norms. For example, at one point, Eve puts makeup on Alex because he looks "too butch" without it. He doesn't seem to like it, but he later ends up deciding he needs it in order to "pass." At the same time, he feels like he might be somewhere between being male and female, yet he is obligated to look as feminine as possible and never quite gets around to considering other gender expressions.
The writing style was excellent, and the characters were generally likeable. I guess I just feel like I'm not sure what the author's intent was with the concept. Maybe I hoped for more than this story was supposed to deliver.