Monday, August 6, 2012

REVIEW: Mark 947 by Calpernia Addams

A few years ago I rented and watched the 2003 movie, Soldier’s Girl, as many of those who may be reading this review probably did. This movie is based on the true story of love affair between an Army soldier and a transwoman, depicting a lovely and innocent romance between the two. It culminates with the savagely vicious hate crime killing of the soldier, PVT Barry Winchell. Barry was murdered by an ignorant, viscous, possibly developmentally challenged, homophobic “comrade in arms,” egged on by another bigoted soldier.  I had noted with interest that the murder victim’s real-life love interest, Calpernia Addams, had been a consultant for the movie, a task that must have been a difficult thing for her to do, requiring exceptional courage by a person squarely facing her demons. Courage being something that Ernest Hemingway once aptly defined as “grace under pressure.”

This movie was eventually followed by Calpernia’s own memoir, Mark 947: A Life Shaped by God, Gender and Force of Will. I had looked forward to reading this book for some time and was pleased to learn that it had finally been recently released for Kindle, text to speech enabled, which is my major reading medium these days.  Eloquently written, Calpernia's memoir did not disappoint in the least as it built toward a haunting and inexorable conclusion.  Although I knew the story well, I was still shocked and deeply moved by the depiction of this terrible crime against an innocent, the ripples of which directly changed the lives of many and has affected the Armed Forces policies toward gay and gender issues. There are also wonderful passages and descriptions of Calpernia's early years and her transition process.  If you haven't read it already in paperback, Mark 947 on Kindle is a very worthwhile acquisition.

[Reviewed by Samuel]

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