Amateur by Thomas Page McBee


From an award-winning writer whose work bristles with “hard-won strength, insight, agility, and love” (Maggie Nelson), an exquisite and troubling narrative of masculinity, violence, and society.In this groundbreaking new book, the author, a trans man, trains to fight in a charity match at Madison Square Garden while struggling to untangle the vexed relationship between masculinity and violence. Through his experience boxing—learning to get ...

Details Amateur

Release DateAug 14th, 2018
GenreNonfiction, Autobiography, Memoir, Glbt, Queer, Feminism, Lgbt, Gender, Transgender

Reviews Amateur

  • Rebecca Foster
    Thomas Page McBee was the first transgender man to box at Madison Square Garden. In his second memoir, which arose from a Quartz article entitled “Why Men Fight,” he recounts the training leading up to his charity match and ponders whether aggression is a natural male trait. McBee grew up in a small town outside Pittsburgh with a stepfather who sexually abused him from age four. In 2011 he started the testosterone injections that would begin ...
  • Rebecca
    Maggie Nelson said that this book was like "sitting with someone uncurling his hands, than holding them out to you, open, so that you can behold all the hard-won strength, insight, agility and love to be found there" and I think that's true. This is a vital trans narrative about becoming and fighting and masculinity. There's bloodiness and tenacity in it, but also gentleness.
  • Eleanor
    Thomas Page McBee wrote an earlier book, Man Alive, about his transition; this one, Amateur, is about his attempts to learn to box in order to fight in a charity match at Madison Square Garden. (He did it, becoming the first trans man to box there in the process.) As its subtitle would suggest, this is fertile ground in terms of seeing questions about manhood through the lens of violence, aggression, love, and the moments where those three things...
  • Booky Nooky
    "Amateur: A True Story About What Makes A Man" is the memoir by Thomas Page McBee in which he explores masculinity through the framework of training for and fighting in a charity boxing match at Madison Square Garden. I commend McBee for taking on the HUGE topic of masculinity (as well as becoming a boxer, duh!) in the mere 204 pages of this book. By framing the discussion through his own experiences, McBee makes the complex subject matter into a...
  • Dominic
    This is the kind of book I wish I could have written and maybe still will. And when I do write my book about masculinity, I will credit Thomas Page McBee along with bell hooks (and her moving call to action, The Will to Change) for their ability to write about the challenges of creating a new brand of masculinity without sounding whiny and without making it seem like men have it harder than women.In fact, McBee is able to call men to task while s...
  • James
    This is an important book that will likely not be read widely enough.The writing is great. He's a journalist and that shows in the style, but he's also a natural storyteller and that shows too, especially the in the parts about his mother.My experiences with masculinity differ from his (people still talk over me in meetings, for one thing), but his perspective is valuable and unique and full of unexpected depth and wisdom. A lot of what he had to...
  • Julie Giehl
    This one is going to sit with me for awhile. Ann Friedman’s back of the book review calls it a warm hug, and it is. I loved his writing style, his ability to see everything, to face hard truths and lead with a beginner’s mind. There’s a lot to say about masculinity in America and McBee does a beautiful job giving this topic justice, in a very warm and vulnerable way. I’ll second Friedman’s review, I want the world to read this book.
  • Courtney Gillette
    If I’m honest, I have little interest in boxing (and perhaps less so in masculinity as a concept), but Thomas Page McBee is such a talent, I’d follow him anywhere. This is a generous and tender story, beautifully rendered. I’m grateful this book is in the world.
  • Maggie Dziong
    Superbly well written and insightful, a pleasure to read. Thomas explores the subject of masculinity with great openness and vulnerability. As a woman I found it very interesting to read, and it certainly made me see things more from the male point of view.
  • Randy Bretzin
    The hunks of truth, contained within ‘Amateur’, weigh in with such power and necessity - delivered with such graceful empathy and self-awareness; its authority is impossible to deny. The world is a better place knowing Thomas Page McBee is in it. Every body should read this.
  • Punfiend
    It was an excellent read. Insightful and I'm glad to have gained some of Thomas' point of view.
  • Taylor Clarke
    The ‘after’ of transition is handled here kindly and deftly, but I wanted more - I feel like the entire narrative could have been pushed just a step more.
  • Simon
    Thanks to NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review, but honestly I had this book pre-ordered already.Thomas's work means a lot to me, I can't tell you how many times I read his first book (Man Alive), so I might be biased when I say this book is fucking incredible and required reading for anyone affected by contemporary masculinity (, everyone)