Three years ago Miles fell for Vivian, a talented and dazzling transgender girl. Eighteen months ago she tried to commit suicide, the attempt left Vivian on life support. Now Miles isn’t sure who he is without her, but his mother’s think it’s time for him to figure out how to say goodbye.
They book him a solo trip to Iceland. At first he has a hard time leaving the refuge of his hotel room, but after a push from Oskar, the hotel concierge who is strangely alluring, Miles decides to honor Vivian’s life by photographing her treasured Doc Martens standing empty against the surreal landscapes. He travels Iceland, meeting people and trying to learn to love again and accept that Vivian, still in a coma and in the charge of her unaccepting parents, will never recover.
Miles’ story is told through a series of instant messages to Vivian, some hopeful, some heartbroken, some grateful, some angry, some drunk. In another writers hands this premise could of been gimmicky, and the that would have been awful. There’s been a upsurge in LGBT literature over the last few years but less that looks at the specific issues that trans people face, and even less that treat trans people as people first and trans second. This book does that, Miles loves Vivian. He loves her mind, her spirit and her body through all her dysmorphia.
The book also looks at Miles’ own confusion about his sexuality. Again it deals with it sensitively but also with no holds barred. Writing letters that will never be seen allows a person to be utterly honest and the author takes full advantage of that.
NB I received a free copy of this book through NetGalley in return for an honest review. The BookEaters always write honest reviews.