Loki's Joke is a kind of a bittersweet journal that chronicles the life of a person who transitioned to a female gender role in later years. Subtitled "How I learned to stop fighting and be a woman," the book depicts Penny Blackwell's decades of angst in dealing with gender dysphoria, and her struggle to fit into the world as a "normal" man before it all became too much to bear.
The book is also the moving account of two loves that were savoured . . . and eventually lost.
More than a story about transgender transition, it is a tale of success, failure, relationships and eventual self-acceptance that will resonate with most of us. Interestingly punctuated by little doses of the author's sometimes artful, and often humorous, poetry, the book offers some fine changes of pace to savour. Perhaps the only thing detracting from this reader's fullest enjoyment was the string of emails and responses to and from a British government agency concerning the "official" change of gender that the author has interspersed near the end of her otherwise fine story.
[Reviewed by Samuel]