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The New Woman
  1. Paula Briggs,
  2. Rosie Briggs
  1. Consultant in Sexual and Reproductive Health, May Logan Centre, Liverpool, UK;
  2. Foundation Year 1 (F1) Doctor, Brighton, UK

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Charity Norman. London, UK: Allen & Unwin, 2015. ISBN-13: 978-1-743-31875-1. Price: £7.99. Pages: 384 (paperback)

This summer we (Rosie my eldest daughter, an F1 in Brighton, and I) read The New Woman whilst on a multigenerational, multicultural, ‘big’ family holiday in Italy; not quite the National Lampoons Vacation, but close!

This book, in essence, is about family life and its many tolerable imperfections, something I felt that I could resonate with after a couple of days with the extended brood! However, it confronts, head on, a much less well-publicised problem, namely that of gender identity disorder. In this well-written fictional novel, the author relays the story of Luke Livingstone, a pillar of society and a ‘matriarchal’ figurehead, whose journey through a glass ceiling, to become accepted as Lucia, rocks the family's values to their core. The novel takes us through the various journeys of the key characters in the first person, including Luke, his wife, Eilish, and their two children, Simon and Kate. Ultimately, this is a love story, with communication and relationship issues at the heart of how the story …

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