For fans of The Danish Girl, an extraordinary transgender love story about self-belief and the true nature of courage.
Best friends since childhood, life takes very different courses for Will and Tom when they leave school. Tom joins the army to become a man. Will goes to university and discovers he's not. When Tom turns up on Will's doorstep almost 10 years later, he's disillusioned and broken after surviving Northern Ireland during the 1970s troubles, and with a broken marriage and no future. Will, on the other hand, has just embarked on a completely new future for himself - in his case, a very different kind of self; a woman called Billie.
As Will transitions from male to female, so the boyhood friendship between Tom and Will changes too. Initial shock and repulsion on Tom's part becomes grudging respect, and eventually something quite different. But life - and falling in love - is never that simple; and especially not when it's in the face of prejudice, fear, and lost courage.
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True love and friendship
Chained Melodies is a beautiful story with truly original and well-developed characters. It follows a 30-year journey between Tom and Will (later Billie) and their friendship from their tweens through adulthood and their realistic lives as blue-collar people. Although they go through their own personal growth and change, the chain remains unbroken despite their different paths. Tom accepts Billie for who she truly is which is a sign of true love and friendship. This story will touch your heart if you give it a chance
An interesting view into the psyche of a young man
This is not the type of book I typically read. The author did a great job of exposing a lifestyle and the emotions of a young man struggling with his own sexuality. This is a very deep subject matter and I think handled well by the author.
The narrator played the role of Will and through the dialogue and the diary he made the character real. i struggled at first with the British accent but after the first chapter, the accent was in character and it was natural for this story and the location of the book.
While I personally don't embrace the lifestyle of Will. I did find this book interesting as it helped me to see into the mindset and emotion of someone who struggles with these decisions and the turmoil they experience. They are mocked and ridiculed and most people don't take the time to even try to understand them.
- Linda R