After the controversy a few years back when some Taliban Christer Reparative therapists made up a bunch of crap about Renee Richards’ “regrets” and telling people that getting the operation was a mistake I hesitated to even bother buying this book. I certainly wasn’t going to pay full price for it.
But I basically loked at the sources of the claims that Renee said this, that and the other thing. Freaks like Jerry Lynch have zero credibility with me. I do not believe they are capable of telling the truth about anything so I discounted what I read and pointed out my belief that what they claimed Renee had said had in all likelihood been distorted and twisted as well as anything that was not distorted and twisted being taken from context and given a different spin.
After all, we’ve had some thirty-five years of right wing Christo-Fascist noise machine turning us into freaks. I think any sister in her right mind should automatically dismiss anything they say about us. That includes smears from those people who are allegedly members of Opus Dei.
That said. I am working hard at developing my writing ability. Writing is a craft. I have read many sisters books including those with aditional authors listed, something that might as well read “as told to”. The writing of this book sucks. I’m really glad I got it from Amazon and paid more for the shipping than for the book. I don’t remember “Second Serve” as being this poorly written, but I read it some 25 years ago and may not have been as conscious of bad writing.
There is an annoying story telling style that has Renee speaking in the third person as though she is speaking about three separate people.
There is a lot of self-pity coming from a person who has enjoyed a great deal of privilege in life, much of it male privilege. Indeed I suspect that some of her regret lies in loss of some of that privilege (wealth) and yet there is a failure to see her own responsibility for her life. As an existentialist I believe we are the products of our past actions in situations we may or may not have had much control over. As a person in recovery I realize the importance of owning my own short comings with the same honesty with that which accept those things which were beyond my control.
There are enough of the common threads to Renee’s narrative that I accept her authenticity as a sister even as I am annoyed by her incredible narcissism.
I had really mixed feelings about her playing tennis back in the 1970s. Women’s Tennis was just coming into its own. I had started playing tennis and later did Tae Kwon Do so I knew what hormones do to muscles. I was getting my butt kicked by women both on the court and in the dojang. But I was barely 5’8″ standing as tall as I could make myself in bare feet and I weighed about 135 pounds. I wasn’t 6 feet and I hadn’t trained for years in either of those sports.
Then there was her use of the ultra right wing Roy Cohn as her attorney. Roy Cohn was a closet case who later died of AIDS. In the 1950s he had been a central figure in the red scare witch hunts that comprised McCarthyism. He was Joe McCarthy’s right hand man and never repudiated his role in fosetering a climate of fear that destroyed the careers of numerous progressive artists. Renee blithely dismisses any criticism of her choosing him to represent her.
Many of her “regrets” stem from her relationship with her son during what seems to have been an extremely troubled childhood. Her including this information raised my level of empathy considerably. I have known sisters who had to fight to see their children, sisters who have been driven to detransition and even commit suicide because of the guilt and sense of failure as a parent.
I think this is why some sister wait until their children are grown before entering transition.
Renee’s okay… Too bad the book is so poorly written.