Book Review: Tea & Transition

tea and transition

Title: Tea and Transition

Author: Nicola Jane Chase

Genre: Non Fiction

Publisher: Telemachus Press, LLC 

Pages: 316

Release Date: May 15, 2015

Buy Links: Amazon/Barnes and Noble


Nobody anticipated a change from heterosexual man to heterosexual woman—least of all the author herself.

This is a marvelously candid memoir of gender and acceptance; one that breaks down many complex issues, though it is her enchanting British humor that makes them such a joy to read. Inner and outer recognition is uncovered through dating debacles, painful family discussions, and trips to Victoria’s Secret. Challenges of pesky pronouns, passport humiliation and underwhelming cup sizes test her spirit yet her charismatic wit never wanes. There are laugh out loud moments, heart-wrenching ones too as she tussles with the balance between he and she, and how gender is perceived—for herself and for those around her.

Back in the 80s and 90s Chase was a globe-trotting DJ who played exotic clubs in the Middle East and southern China, then an indie music radio host in Hong Kong. However, having played at rooftop parties for sheiks, been a maestro in the clubs, and a household name on the airwaves, it was only after relocating to New York that the real journey began.

Why was he feeling like a she? The feeling wouldn’t go away. Then the first cross-dressing steps into Manhattan as a woman. Embarrassing wigs, stares on the subway, and heels an inch from respectability. Through painful, unexpected, and hilarious experiences, a tipping point of gender was reached. But how to tell those who knew her as a man before?

Friends were both won and lost, but the biggest announcement was over a cup of Earl Grey: the excruciating moment of disclosure with her 80-year old mother. The devolution and rebuilding of that amazing relationship is one of the most heart-rending threads of this book.

Humor drives her forward as she explores the New York dating life as a woman. She gets thrown out of a strip club as a perceived threat to business, initiates her first bikini moment, and has a love match at the US Open Tennis Championships. Puberty happens for a renewed time in a different gender, and with that, dodgy fashion choices and overzealous make-up. She was a 16 year old girl in her 40s.

As she considers life changing surgery, one moment of epiphany ensues, yet clarity comes with a kick. What would be next?

There are martinis on top of the world, the pyramids at dawn, and high-speed motorbike rides through Asian back streets, but Tea and Transition is far more than a globetrotting travelogue or another tale of a right-soul-in-the-wrong-body. This is a wonderfully personal journey through places beyond the physical. Of change and the human spirit, love and family values, and how one man became one woman.

My Thoughts:

This is not your traditional transgender story. The author Nicola did not always view herself as a female in a male’s body. This feeling just kind of snuck up on her one day but she can’t deny she definitely feels female.

This book takes you from the beginning to the end of her journey. She is forced to make decisions like “Do I show my feminine side to old friends?” “Should I have the surgery?” “Can I change my life to fully become a female?”

This is not the first nor the last book on this topic that has been written. You have to give the authors the admiration to bare their soul for strangers to read, and live for a short time.

This book is written in a manner that you can imagine sitting with a good friend just chatting.
I received this book for free in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions in this review are 100% my own.

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