This unique picture book biography tells the story of Dr. James Barry, born female, who lived as a man from age 18 to his death.
Like other girls of her time, Margaret Bulkley didn’t go to school. She wouldn’t grow up to own property, be a soldier, a doctor, or hold any job other than perhaps maid or governor–such was a girl’s lot in 19th century England. And was she comfortable born in a girl’s body? We will never know. What we do know is that at the age of 18, she tugged off her stockings and dress, cut her red-gold curls, and vanished. In her place appeared a young man. Margaret became James Barry. James would attend medical school, become a doctor and a soldier, travel the world. He would fall in love, deliver babies, and fight in a duel. And he would live a rich full life.
Here is a picture book that is both a fascinating and sensitively drawn portrait of someone who would not be undervalued, and an important introduction to the concept of gender identity.