"McBee’s lyrical, achingly honest exploration of loss and maturation offers a hopeful antidote to more toxic forms of masculinity." -Publisher's Weekly, starred review
"Provocative and illuminating—a winning follow-up to McBee's acclaimed debut." -Kirkus Reviews
“Until I read this book, I didn't realize how tired I was of reading about masculinity as cold, hard, and fixed. Amateur is a warm hug. It’s also an invitation to everyone who's ever struggled to accept failure, searched for a sense of belonging, or said ‘Ugh, men’ in an exasperated tone to think harder and be kinder. I want the world to read it.”
—Ann Friedman, New York Magazine columnist and cohost of Call Your Girlfriend
"Marvelous...Thomas Page McBee displays tenacity on the page and in the gym, sizing up formidable concepts and engaging them with savvy and sensitivity. Amateur is more than a boxing story, just as it's more than a trans narrative. It's a highly recommended case study in manhood."
Thomas's new book, Amateur, is now available for pre-order on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, BAM!, and will be coming soon to an independent book store near you. It will be published by Scribner in August of 2018. Thomas will be in conversation with Saeed Jones at the Brooklyn Historical Society on August 15 to celebrate the book's release. Get your tickets here.
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 hit, and to hit back; wrestling with the camaraderie of the gym; confronting the betrayals and strength of his own body—McBee examines the weight of male violence, the pervasiveness of gender stereotypes, and the limitations of conventional masculinity. A wide-ranging exploration of gender in our society, Amateur is ultimately a story of hope, as McBee traces a new way forward, a new kind of masculinity, inside the ring and outside of it.
In this graceful, stunning, and uncompromising exploration of living, fighting, and healing, we gain insight into the stereotypes and shifting realities of masculinity today through the eyes of a new man.
"Amateur takes a classic, well-worn subject—a man whose fight with other men is ultimately a confrontation with the self—and completely revitalizes, renews, and enriches it. McBee grapples with enormous issues such as masculinity, identity, transformation, and loss with great depth and intelligence, and in doing so, explores so many of the tough questions we should all be asking ourselves. Though slim and sharply concise, Amateur enlarges the world by opening up greater, more hopeful realms of possibility. I am a better man for having read this book."
—Isaac Fitzgerald, founding editor of BuzzFeed Books and co-host of BuzzFeed's Twitter morning show, #AMtoDM
"This timely memoir explores male-female power dynamics in an uplifting story of someone who becomes 'a new man' in ways even he couldn’t anticipate." -Booklist
“Amateur is a brutally honest look at the problems with masculinity, laced through with hope, and joy, and possibility. Thomas McBee confronts fears and realities with grace, toughness, and poetry. A beautiful book.”
—Michelle Tea, author of Black Wave and How to Grow Up
“Thomas Page McBee is a fighter—and not only in a ring in Madison Square Garden. Amateur shows us a warrior of the human spirit, courageously investigating masculinity itself. His prose—both fierce and delicate—reveals a struggle to become a better man, and to create a better self. Amateur is urgent, generous, and fearless.”
—Jennifer Finney Boylan, author of Long Black Veil and She’s Not There
You can read his story about boxing in Madison Square Garden, Why Men Fight, on Quartz, and watch the video below to learn more about the project.