P. Carl: Are Certain Forms of Masculinity Inherently Toxic?

In Conversation with Mitzi Rapkin on the First Draft Podcast

"Nearing its final pages, I had scrawled so many questions in the margins that I began to question the nature of my curiosity. A new thought emerged: that this is one of the risks and delights of a good memoir. If the writer has done the job well, the reader falls in love — and one principal feature of love is that it craves access to every part of you. "

Garrard Conley for the New York Times  

"His reflective memories often read like poetry…This moving narrative illuminates the joy, courage, necessity, and risk-taking of his gender transition and the ways his loved ones became affected and eventually enriched by it. A passionate, eloquent memoir about how 'complex stories of humanity [and] our capacity for imagination are what give us hope.'"



“In this deeply personal and moving debut memoir, theater writer Carl shares the story of his difficult yet triumphant gender transition… Carl’s raw, thoughtful musings on the life he now lives—and how powerless he was as a woman (as a graduate student, Carl was nearly raped by another student), yet how privileged he suddenly is as a white man—are incisive and intimate… Carl’s honest, timely musings illustrate the deep ruminations that can arise about one’s assigned gender at birth and the gender one becomes. Carl’s thoughts about sexuality and his compassionate feelings for sexual assault survivors will captivate readers from the first page to the last.”

Publishers Weekly 


“[Carl] writes with the directness and intimacy we yearn to encounter in conversation. Becoming A Man is a memoir that is jolting, honest, passionate and beautifully written.” 

—Claudia Rankine

“Raw and honest, probing and skeptical, P. Carl’s Becoming a Man is thoroughly compelling—a deeply moving meditation on love, loss, and what makes a self.” 

—Elizabeth Kolbert

“In Becoming a Man, P. Carl movingly and incisively conveys experiences that range from self-perception to mortality itself; experiences that matter to all of us, regardless of our sexual identities.  Becoming a Man is a profound human story.” 

— Michael Cunningham

"Becoming a Man is a fierce and thoughtful memoir of a transitioning body. In grappling with his own biology, gender theory, politics, and relationships, P. Carl has proven himself an indispensable voice in the conversation around gender identity. His story is a galvanizing call to action: to love, embrace, and fight for transgender lives."

—Jill Soloway, creator and showrunner of Transparent 

“This book is both is devastatingly honest and a joyful triumph. P. Carl communicates empathy on a cellular level. Everyone interested in gender, the body, and the resilience of the human spirit should read his book. It is rare for a book to equally address the gut, the mind, the heart and the body with so much insight, honesty and love. Not only a memoir of a transition, this book is a searing look at what it means to be a man in America in 2019.”

—Sarah Ruhl, playwright of The Clean House

"...P. Carl bravely charts his gender transition journey. A memoir that asks big questions about self, relationships, and the world we live in, it is deeply personal, yet wholly universal."

—Popsugar's 22 of the Best Books This Winter Has to Offer

"In a scrupulously honest memoir, P. Carl examines how his transition upended both his marriage and his notions of white masculinity."

— O Magazine's 31 LGBTQ Books That'll Change the Literary Landscape in 2020 

— O Magazine's 16 of the Best Books to Read this January

"P. Carl has written a candid, intimate and moving memoir about his gender transition in our current cultural moment and how it affected his relationships, his inner and outer identities and his place within the world."

— MS Magazine's Reads for the Rest of Us: Feminist Books Coming Out in 2020

"In this way, his debut memoir isn’t just the story of his transition but also an origin story."

Coming Out as a Trans Man in Trump's America, Interview in MelMagazine 

"Carl tells the story of his own awakening, at the age of 50, after living as a queer woman for decades. He gives thoughtful insight into the effects of patriarchy on masculine identity."

— The New York Times, 10 New Books We Recommend this Week