1. Every action has a reaction. Although the novel is about an adolescent in 20th century Detroit, the story starts decades earlier, before Cal was born.
2. People are people, not science experiments. Cal is transgender, and as a teenage girl find herself the subject of speculation and science, an object to figure out and a question to answer. She is more than her body, for “Biology gives you a brain. Life turns it into a mind”. In life, we need to treat people with the respect and love they deserve, regardless of their sexual organs.
3. An opening line makes all the difference: “I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day in January of 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974.”
4. “Emotions, in my experience, aren’t covered by single words.” There is so much more to joy, sadness, anger, and envy than their titles. Words continue to fail us.
5. An epic novel, spanning eight decades and over 500 words is worth the work.