The Danish Girl has been acclaimed since it was made into a film starring Eddie Redmayne last year. I managed to grab a copy for the bargain price of 99p on a kindle daily deal and I’m really glad I chose to read it.
Now I’ll be honest, I have very little knowledge of the ins and outs of LGBTIQ rights, choices, lifestyles etc. I have friends who fit into those categories if you’d like to call them that, but that’s exactly why I don’t make it my business to know too much. I think that by categorising we can sometimes stop looking at people as ordinary folk. We start labelling them and putting them into bundles and categories and ticking boxes and that’s where it all starts falling apart. So while I wholeheartedly support the LGBTIQ community what I’m trying to say is that this is the first time I have read something in depth about a transgender person.
This story is first of all beautifully written. There is something in the way that it is written prettily and delicately that personifies the story itself as Lili. The subject is dealt with in a manner which is accepting and honest, that looks at the feelings of all the people who are involved in Lili’s transformation not just herself but Einar’s wife, the couple’s friends and all the people who have loved Lili before and after she became a woman. It taught me a lot about transgender feelings about identifying as someone else and how terrifying this can be for that person who is still unsure who they are. It also taught me about hermaphroditism and what that actually means. I think we’ve all had a view in our heads of what it is and this book shows me that this view was in fact incorrect.
It was an interesting perspective from the 1930s when acceptance was not like it is now (even though it could still be better) and the authors view of the minutiae of day to day life and the oddity of Einar appearing one day and waking up as Lili the next kept it a page turner despite the story being a slow build up.
I can’t say I enjoyed The Danish Girl as much as i developed as a person FROM this book. That my understanding and own personal acceptance were broadened as I rooted for Lili and yet rooted for Greta as well in a world which must have been terribly confusing for her to understand. The Danish Girl is all about acceptance and learning that no matter the challenges you can fight for your right to be who you feel you truly are inside. I’ll be giving the film a watch soon see if it lives up!!