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Jess, Chunk, and the Road Trip to Infinity: 12/14/18
Jess, Chunk, and the Road Trip to Infinity by Kristin Elizabeth Clark is a roadtrip to a wedding. Jess's father is getting remarried and it's the first time he'll being seeing his daughter now that she's started to transition. Christophe — who Jess rudely calls Chunk for most of the book — is a long time friend and is doing her a huge favor.
Along the way Jess and Christophe run into a girl who is in the middle of breaking up with her boyfriend. For reasons that will take too long to explain here, they end up at her house where things go to hell in a hand-basket, as my grandmother would say.
As a transgender story, the book is lacking. The main problem is that the author is writing it from the perspective of a parent of a transgender child. She has essentially written this book to work through her fears for her child. That's fine but it makes Jess's voice sound less genuine and the boogeymen on the road more threatening.
Initially I thought this book settled higher up on the road narrative spectrum at a 660000 (marginalized city interstate), which is where For Today I am a Boy by Kim Fu sits. It certainly starts there but later with pacing similar to The Graduate by Charles Webb, Christophe manages to blurt out his love for Jess and she reciprocates, thus lowering the book's placement to 330000 (couple city interstate).
The coupling at the end while awkwardly romantic, also feels a bit like a cop-out. The couple as road narrative protagonist are safe (or rather, the woman is safe) because of the privileged man. If they are a fat kid and a trans-woman traveling together as friends, they are narrationally less safe than if they are a couple.