A son of Chinese immigrants discovers his true self in a “sharply written debut . . . a coming-of-age tale for our time” (Seattle Times).
Publishing Triangle’s Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction, Winner
2015 PEN/ Hemingway Award, Finalist
Lambda Literary Award, Finalist
Longlisted for the 2014 Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize
A Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection for Spring 2014
A New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice
Shortlisted for the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize
At birth, Peter Huang is given the Chinese name Juan Chaun, “powerful king.” To his parents, newly settled in small-town Ontario, he is the exalted only son in a sea of daughters, the one who will finally fulfill his immigrant father’s dreams of Western masculinity. Peter and his sisters grow up in an airless house of order and obligation, though secrets and half-truths simmer beneath the surface. At the first opportunity, each of the girls lights out on her own. But for Peter, escape is not as simple as fleeing his parents’ home. Though his father crowned him “powerful king,” Peter knows otherwise. He knows he is really a girl. With the help of his far-flung sisters and the sympathetic souls he finds along the way, Peter inches ever closer to his own life, his own skin, in this darkly funny, emotionally acute, stunningly powerful debut.
“Sensitively wrought . . . “For Today I Am a Boy” is as much about the construction of self as the consequences of its unwitting destruction—and what happens when its acceptance seems as foreign as another country.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Subtle and controlled, with flashes of humor and warmth.” —Slate
“Keeps you reading. Told in snatches of memory that hurt so much they have the ring of truth.” —Bust