It's been over 20 years since I found this book in our local library and read it. And I still remember the feel of the story, the inviting conversational tone, and the minds-eye pictures of 1970's life in LA candidly painted with the words of such a sensitive and introspective individual. Nevermind the fact that Canary provides an intimate look and understanding of the life and struggles of a transsexual--this is a story for any young person's life, full with hopes, fears, and the quest for personal growth and understanding. Telling of scary and often hysterical misadventures, unusual perspectives, and vividly life-like portraits of people she knew, loved, or met along the way, Canary's story is also a fun and cozy one to read. The outward goal throughout the book is to resolve personal gender issues, but the character development that occurs during this quest is what it's really all about. Kind of like life, you know? Anyway I recommend the book highly, if you can find it. And I have often wondered over the years where Canary Conn went and how she, the person, is doing. Her book left me wanting more. But that too is life.
Young, Transsexual, and in LA in 1970
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 23 years ago
Canary Conn always seemed to be just on the verge of the bigtime. Back in the 1970s she held a number of minor journalistic and broadcasting gigs, turning up on occasion on Tom Snyder's Tomorrow show and other odd-hour venues. She was a charming and impressive lady--young, blonde, slender, highly intelligent and well-spoken. You wondered why she didn't at least have her own local daytime TV show. Even has-beens on the Regis Philbin level usually seemed to manage that.The reason she never went anywhere, I suppose, is that her transsexual past was too much of an obstacle. Furthermore she wasn't inclined to conceal it; from the very start it was her calling card. The book is a fascinating read on several levels. First, there's the pure story, told in a naive (and dated) popular-magazine narrative style. Canary starts out as Danny, normal-seeming boy with a guitar and a high-tenor voice. Danny wins a TV talent contest and moves to Los Angeles from San Antonio. His dreams have come true! But not so fast--he's soon saddled with a wife and child and is struggling to support them. He leaves them, becomes a girl singer named Canary, and has sordid adventures--a near-fatal operation in Mexico, a relationship with a lesbian, a live-in affair with a brutal macho cop who doesn't approve of Canary's singing career. On another level, it's a tale of someone trying to maintain optimism and ambition while on the brink of desperation and madness. The narrator in the story is relentlessly chipper, almost manic. Yet she's often poor, unemployed, and one step from the street. I found myself wondering whether Canary were indeed half-mad. How could she, as Danny, have got herself into that wife-and-child situation at the same time she moved to LA, when she quite clearly had very different plans for herself.Finally, the book is a wonderful period piece of a particular place and time--LA just before it finally lost its lustre, when rubes in the sticks could still move there and believe for years--and years!--that just being in Southern California was halfway to stardom. It also has historical value of the transsexual experience in the days when the medical aspects were still very backalley and difficult to come by. Nowadays transsexualism is _almost_ respectable, and even middleaged Dads feel that they can become glamourous women without too much strain (whether or not they should is another matter). _Canary_ is the story of the olden days, when people had to shift for themselves.Canary herself has gone to ground. Perhaps she finally realized that her bumptious candor, while charming, wasn't helping her career. Anyway, her book's been out of print for twenty years.
Courageous intimate look at a fascinating life.
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 24 years ago
Canary was born Danny O'Connor and always felt that he had to be female. This books is a gutsy and intimate look at how gender reassignment is sometimes the only alternative to for a true transsexual. If you have ever watched Jerry Springer and wondered how this could actually happen to a real person, read this book. You will laugh and cry as Canary gives up everything to be who she was destined to be.
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