Becoming Drusilla: One Life, Two Friends, Three Genders by Richard Beard - review by Nick Parker

Nick Parker

From Drew to Dru

Becoming Drusilla: One Life, Two Friends, Three Genders

By

Harvill Secker 309pp £12.99 order from our bookshop
 

Novelist Richard Beard had a friend called Drew. Richard and Drew went on holidays together – breaks from their family responsibilities, involving hiking, camping, canoeing. In fact, Drew is pretty much the perfect blokey mate: he can repair stuff, he rides a motorbike, he drinks bitter, and he’s a good laugh down the pub. So it comes as something of a shock to Richard when Drew announces that he is to have a sex change and become Dru. Drew delivers this news with matter-of-fact good humour, in combat boots, earrings and new hairstyle (‘don’t tell me, it shows my bald spot – see if I care. Hello oestrogen, goodbye male pattern hair loss’). 

This book is Beard’s biography of his friend Dru, written against the backdrop of a two-week hiking trip that the pair took in Wales just seven months after Dru’s operation. It is also Beard’s investigation into his own reactions to his friend’s sudden (to Beard at any rate) transformation. With

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter