Myra Breckinridge by Gore Vidal

Gore Vidal’s novel was quite scandalous when it was published in 1968. It’s the story of a man (Myron) who became a woman (Myra). She’s working in Hollywood now and has dedicated herself to something like reformulating the American concept of masculinity. She thinks she’ll accomplish this by having her way with an attractive young man who wants to be a movie star. Along the way, she falls in love with the young man’s girlfriend and schemes to take control of movie cowboy Buck Loner’s Acting Academy for Aspiring Young Actors and Actresses. As one would expect, her mission isn’t a complete success. 

It’s a satirical novel, so there are some larger-than-life characters, including Myra. She has an extraordinarily high opinion of herself, but eventually concludes that she “certainly went through a pretentious phase”. It’s worth reading, partly because Vidal was a talented writer with a gift for wry commentary. But it’s not terribly funny and nowhere near as shocking as it was in 1968.  

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