Alex Myers’s compelling and poignant coming-of-gender novel Continental Divide is set in Wyoming and delves into the difficult decisions that a trans person has to face—and how challenging the process of transitioning can be, both for trans people and those close to them.
Ron, a nineteen-year-old student at Harvard, decides that he needs to leave the East coast, and everyone he knows, behind. Heading West with the self-directive to “be a man,” he lands in Cody, Wyoming. As soon as he gets off the bus, he is offered a job by Gus, who runs a ranch.
Gus assumes that Ron is a man; Ron feels that it’s a sign to take his kitchen job for free room and board and a few extra dollars. His time on the ranch results in several challenging situations, including with an alcoholic boss, a potential love interest, and the expectations of those who take him at face value. He’s forced to decide what transitioning means to him.
Moving at a brisk pace, the story includes a few interesting twists, though its coming-of-age elements are easier to predict. Ron is sympathetic and developed as he tries to figure out what it means to be masculine, according to himself and others; what he really wants in life; and how his honesty can sometimes result in pain and loss. Other characters are less dimensional; some stand in as representatives of outside viewpoints regarding transgender people.
As Ron reveals his inner truths, the story comes to shine. His deep conversations about being transgender stand out; they are honest, enlightening, natural, and moving. Continental Divide is a unique novel about what it means to be a man, no matter where you start.
Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The publisher of this book provided free copies of the book to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. No fee was paid by the publisher for this review. Foreword Reviews only recommends books that we love. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.