“Run, Clarissa, Run” (by Rachel Eliason) is a book about a tormented transgender teenager. However, protagonist Clark/Clarissa is not your average American gender-variant teen. An intellectually gifted youngster, she possesses a special aptitude for all things computer, a burgeoning talent that eventually proves to be Clark’s undoing and Clarissa’s salvation. Bullied by schoolmates, not understood by mother, teased by brother and incorrectly diagnosed by a therapist, Clark agonizes over his gender identity issues until he meets Tony, an adult who helps to nurture Clark’s computer abilities and facilitate his need to present in a female gender role. But there is a steep price to pay, as Clark/Clarissa is soon to learn.
Interesting from the start, and gathering momentum along the way, we can overlook some editing issues because “Run, Clarissa, Run” keeps the reader on edge until it builds to an exciting and ingenious conclusion. Filled with accurate descriptions of the gender transition process by an author who has walked the walk, this novel is also rich in computer hacking schemes including identity theft and dazzling break-ins to government and corporate computer systems, primarily in the interest of exposing, Clark’s “benefactor,” a heinous individual who is both child molester and corporate crook.
Besides attempting to nail this nefarious character, there is one other major interest served by all of Clark’s hacking, and that is to facilitate his complete surgical transition to Clarissa, never an easy process, but one that is particularly complicated given Clark’s status as minor and his financial limitations. How this is accomplished will blow your mind and is the basis for the title, “Run, Clarissa, Run.”
[Reviewed by Samuel]