The Boy Who Was A Bridesmaid by Russell Frank is a novel that details how the tragic loss of one child (a daughter) led to the gradual feminization of the surviving son at the hands of a diabolically clever, manipulating, and “over-the-top” mother. It is a beautifully told and realistic tale, rich in character development and plot. The story makes sense, is clinically accurate, and maintains reader interest with some complicated twists and turns, leading to a heart-stopping ending. Yet, this book is so psychologically detailed it could be an actual case study about "Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome," ready for presentation to the American Psychological Association.
According to the "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV-TR) (2009), Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome is a rare form of child abuse involving the exaggeration or fabrication of illnesses or symptoms by a primary caretaker. The term "by Proxy" indicates that a parent or other adult is making up or exaggerating symptoms in a child, not in himself or herself. Suspected causes of this rare, but vexing mental illness may be traced to the caretaker having been abused or possibly having suffered a severe emotional trauma, such as the loss of a loved one as was the case in this The Boy Who Was A Bridesmaid. Because the caregiver appears to be caring, attentive, and loving, often no one suspects any wrongdoing. Diagnosis is extremely difficult due to the ability of the parent or caregiver to manipulate the child, doctors and others by inducing symptoms in the child. The Boy Who Was A Bridesmaid nails this diagnosis perfectly and is one of the best reads in the transgender genre I have come across recently.