Deborah Frazier, Aug 22 2013, $9.00
Rita and Mike Evans are the perfect who fell in love in high school. Both are excited with the birth of their first child; but especially the marine, a former quarterback, who looks forward to playing sports with his son. However, Dr. Martin informs them their newborn has abnormalities in the genitals and recommends surgery to change the boy into a girl. Reluctantly, Mike accepts the doctor’s recommendation and persuades his wife that their son is better off as a girl.
Over the next few years Cali is raised as a girl mostly by her loving mother; her dad, filled with guilt and doubt, kept reenlisting and volunteering for deployments. Cali prefers competing against the guys and proves a better athlete than them. She begins receiving hormone shots, but unaware what they are; as her mom refuses to tell her the big secret and her dad abandoned his family. Cali also feels suicidal as she hates feelings of being a boy trapped in a girl’s body. Meghan remains her only friend and anchor even after Cali confesses to her that her brain screams male. Becoming a psychologist to help others with similar haunting issues as hers, twentyish Cali meets and marries kind Lance but she still feels trapped in the wrong gender.
Cali is a powerful psychological thriller that cautions parents to think of the long-term consequences on their newborn before agreeing to a sex change medical procedure. Character-driven by the protagonist’s inner turmoil of a freak in the wrong body, Cali reminds readers that even loving decisions have second order effects and that doctors are people not gods; but mostly consider the future as much as the present.