Nathan reviews Tomorrow Will Be Different: Love, Loss, and the Fight for Trans Equality by Sarah McBride, Crown Archetype, 2018, 273 pages
Sarah McBride has offered her readers a wonderfully personal memoir that followed her journey as a transgender woman. Her story also served as example for the social, political, and legal pressures and troubles transgender Americans face in daily life. Through her position and viewpoint, though privileged in many ways, her readers are able to better understand the life and difficulties of one who will be still considered distinctly “other” by so many. Through sharing her background and story, she advocated for rights and protections for others like her. With a new government position in Delaware, she continues to also trying to do good for every citizen of her home state.
While most of the book is framed in the context of politics—McBride worked on several campaigns and in political advocacy roles before becoming a state senator—the story she told is more than just winning a majority of votes. Every aspect of her writing was very personal and incredibly vulnerable. Little in the book, though it may apply to thousands of other people as well, came from anything but direct, firsthand experiences. The stream of consciousness depiction of the biggest moments in her young life were gripping. State congressional votes seemed to slow down because that is how it felt for McBride, and panic comes through when her boyfriend of the time was going through a serious surgery to remove a cancerous tumor. Her style shifted for the moment, for the emotion. This brought a welcome conversational tone to the book as a whole, as if the whole book were simply McBride sitting down and was just talking to you candidly.
I find myself trying not to use the word “personal” or “personally” over and over with this review. Really, there does not seem to be a better word for this book because it is exactly that. McBride uses her words, her emotions, her journey to make her case. For her, there is no separating the private and personal from the political, for they are forever connected in a multitude of ways. While she fights for herself, she is not fighting only for herself. She champions a cause in which she truly believes. Yes, it benefits her, but the cause is never just about her when she tells her story.
As a reader, I try to read as broadly as possible. Really, I want to read widely to understand people who are not like me. Tomorrow Will Be Different serves to help me better understand those not like me. Did this book help me understand every struggle and point of contention for the transgender community? No, nowhere close. The better question is this: Did this book help me better understand the general struggle of and empathize with those in the transgender community? Yes, most definitely. Tomorrow Will Be Different was not intended to answer all the questions, nor did it. This book, like Sarah does herself, was designed to come from a personal place and get people thinking more positively about their neighbors while also wanting the best for them.