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Book Review: Becoming Julie by Julie Clarke

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Paperback by Fledgling Press, £11.99

Thousands of passengers sailing from Oban to Coll will have been welcomed to the island by Julie Clark. She works as a port assistant for CalMac. Nothing unusual in that except she previously held the job as a man.

Becoming Julie is her personal story, a tale which starts in Central Scotland in the 1950s where, even as a young boy, she felt different to the other young lads and slightly jealous of the girls as she wanted to play with their toys and be like them. As the years passed she realised she was different to her friends but was so scared of telling others how she felt, she became withdrawn and an easy target for bullies.

Much of her life was spent wrestling her inner demons. She felt like a woman but at that time, transgender issues weren’t the open subject they are today, so she went out of her way to take manly jobs finding work in a quarry, as a skipper and within the Fire Brigade, but desire to be a woman would often overwhelm her.

The book is her personal and factual account of the journey she’s taken from being a man to becoming a woman. It’s fascinating, heartbreaking and inspirational in equal measures. Julie has a nice, easy style of writing and reading her book is like chatting to an old friend, one that’s been to Hell and back – and is still smiling.

Becoming Julie is available on board major CalMac ferries on all routes and in book shops across the country. Julie is currently working on a follow-up novel, due out next year, which will continue to chart the trials and tribulations of her life.

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