Gender is a thought-provoking pair of novellas that artfully convey profound ideas using a mix of free verse, form, and rhyme. In the first story, Martin/Martina, we follow Martina, who was born female, but when she comes of age she learns that her father plans to marry her off so he can join a monastery. Martina refuses to be married off and wants to live with her father so they begin to dress and act like a boy in order to stay in the monastery with their father. Martina enjoyed living in the monastery and remained there even after their father’s passing. An affair ensues and a child is born, but out of shame the family abandons the child and Martina raises the child as their own. Readers follow her path to becoming a Saint in an emotionally-resonant and intellectually-stimulating story that I enjoyed heartily.

The second story, Aftermath, is a post-apocalyptic tale that tells the story of three distinct groups that are working together in the aftermath. The language, I felt, is more colorful and works to create a vivid view of a stark future. The lines within a stanza rhyme nicely and evoke strong emotion and lend this otherwise bleak story a rhapsodic feel that is engrossing.

Author Anne Harding Woodworth writes beautiful and poetic stories. The intense and emotional journey that Martin/Martina embarks on takes readers through many different phases and perspectives in life. The author is able to tell a compelling story and capture the emotional weight of being a man, a woman, a mother, and a father all in one short story. The author switches perspectives throughout the story, switching between narration and Martina’s perspective. This allows the reader to hear Martina’s thoughts and understand their motives and connect with them on a deeper level.

Woodworth’s writing is simple in Martin/Martina, but this helps to keep the reader focused on the story, the characters, and the weighty emotions that affect them. The writing in Aftermath has a grand eloquence with a focus on imaginative descriptions. I enjoyed the setup of the book because it was similar to reading short stories that rhyme. It was sometimes hard for me to tell the timeframe of events in the stories. Martin/Martina jumps through time, which I felt was a little disorienting, but this doesn’t take away from the impact of the story.

Gender is a heartwarming pair of stories with a unique voice and a keen perspective on gender that is earnest and meaningful. These are stories that will stay with you long after you’ve put the book down.

Pages: 116 | ISBN: 1639882979

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About Literary Titan

The Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.

Posted on July 29, 2022, in Book Reviews, Four Stars and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.


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