I first met Rachel Eliason right after I "came out" myself.
As a science fiction author, that is.
Since then, we've been together on several author panels and readings, and I was honored when Rachel and A.R. Miller invited me to contribute Traveler to a 3-in-1 ebook they wanted to publish.
Rachel's grace and honesty make her a delight to be around, but I have to admit to being a little trepidatious in taking on this memoir of her sexual reassignment surgery in Thailand in 2010.
I was afraid that like hot dogs and laws, perhaps I didn't want to too much information on how my transgender friend was made.
But in the opening pages of "The Agony, The Ecstasy, and The Buddha" Rachel cheerfully confesses that TMI should be her middle name, and invites the reader to join her on this most private journey that by its very nature must be carried out in public.
This memoir pulls no punches in discussing both the emotional and medical aspects of her journey, but she tells the story with such good humor, that soon you're right with her in a humid Bangkok hotel room, and glad to be a part of the trip.
The picture of Rachel Eliason that emerges from this book is one of honesty and strength, along with hope that by telling her story, she might help other transgendered folks feel less alone, and give cis people like myself a small window into her life.
It's a quick read, but its brevity in no way reduces its impact, or the emotional connection you'll make with her as you experience her story. I'm proud to call her a friend.
Oh, and you should also check out her sci-fi and fantasy books, too, at www.racheleliason.net.