Sunday, April 3, 2011
Peters, J.A. (2004). Luna. New York, NY: Little, Brown, and Company.
Regan’s brother Liam was born a girl. Anatomically Liam was born male, but mentally and emotionally Liam has always been female. Liam dresses up each night in girl’s clothing in his sister’s bedroom, it is the only time he is truly able to be himself and act as his female self, named Luna. Regan alone, is the sole person who knows Luna. The knowledge of Luna is a burden that has kept Regan from keeping friends or becoming close with anyone other than her brother and his best friend, Aly. Regan also must be her brother’s only support. He depends on her for confidence and emotional support. Regan’s relationship with her parents has suffered as well, she cannot contain her contempt for her father who tries to make Liam into the perfect son or her mother who turns a blind eye to her family. As Liam slowly begins to transition into Luna, bringing her out during the day, Regan also begins to emerge from the role she has created for herself. Instead of spending all her time babysitting for the normal family she wishes she had, Regan begins to see Chris, a boy who accepts Regan and her brother as they are.
The moth on the cover of this book is incredibly appropriate as a symbol of the metamorphosis of Regan and Liam. Throughout the course of the book Liam and Regan both begin to emerge from the protective layers they have been hiding behind. The author does an excellent job of portraying Liam and showing his absolute need to be a girl, that there is no other option for him. What was surprising to me was that I found the complexities of Regan and Liam’s codependent relationship more interesting than Liam’s story. My stomach tensed as I read about the immense pressure Regan had put on herself by making her Liam’s protector. The truths she must hide from everyone, including her brother, in order to protect him. The struggle of not wanting the role she had taken so many years ago, but not wanting to abandon her brother; that he is solely her responsibility. The flashbacks to moments in their life where Liam’s female identity presented itself in public at a young age is an excellent way to show the gradual awareness of his being transgender from the time when he was very young. It is nice that the author added in a little romance to lighten up the book, that was appreciated.
Ages 12 & up
transgendered, siblings, self-identity
Regan: a sophomore in high school; her brother is transgendered; isolates herself from people because of her codependent relationship with her brother; begins a relationship with Chris
Liam/Luna: Regan's transgendered brother; is very smart; has a difficult time coming out to his best friend and parnets about being transgender; relies heavily on Regan to keep his secret
Aly: Liam's best friend; is in love with Liam
Chris: classmate of Regan's whom she begins to date
Regan struggles between her need to protect her transgendered brother and her own desires in life.