[review] Siri Kolu: It All Changes After the Summer

Kolu, SiriKesän jälkeen kaikki on toisin
Kesän jälkeen kaikki on toisin [’It All Changes After the Summer’]
Otava 2016
ISBN 978-951-1-29090-2

After the summer, Peetu’s life is going to change for good. He will turn eighteen and his gender reassignment can move on to the next phase, surgery. Peetu anxiously waits for this point in his life, and luckily his father has promised to take him flying in a glider ten times over the summer. These flights will provide the summer with a rhythm and help the time to pass a little faster.

Peetu’s father promises him that what is said inside the plane, stays inside the plane. There is no obligation to talk but if there is anything either one of them wants to talk about, they can. Flight after flight, Peetu shares his feelings with his dad. It is easier to talk in a space where the normal world does not reach you. Peetu can even talk about her mother, who does not seem to understand that Peetu no longer is, has never been and will never be Petra. Although he was born as Petra, deep down inside he has always been Peetu. His mother claims to understand, but her actions tell that in reality she does not.

Peetu is not the only one in search of an identity. Peetu’s girlfriend, Aamu, feels that Peetu’s transition also changes her orientation. Aamu, who has up until now considered herself a lesbian, needs to ponder whether she will be identified as a heterosexual, now that Peetu will be Peetu also on the outside. Does her love of Peetu make her straight?

Siri Kolu has written a touching novel about a young person’s journey towards his real self. ‘It All Changes After the Summer’ is a story told with a unique voice. It discusses the difficulty of making yourself accepted as who you are and considers the price you may have to pay for it.

Kolu has educated herself well on the topic and the book does not provide a polished and smoothed image of transsexuality. The chest binding hurts and rubs, your own family members do not want to acknowledge your real name and people give you strange looks and bully you. The book, nevertheless, communicates a breezy freedom and easiness, exemplified by the glider flights. Peetu knows who he is and he is ready to do anything it takes to get to be himself. The affection that Peetu’s dad gives to his son is heart-warming and real. The book presents skilfully both the positive and negative attitudes towards the experience of transition of a transsexual child. I strongly believe that this book can provide help and comfort to the young people who struggle with similar things. Siri Kolu has succeeded in writing a novel that is easy to approach and also easy to devour, although it deals with a difficult subject. I warmly recommend this book to everyone.

Suvi Oksanen, 11/2016

Also by Siri Kolu:
The Robbersons series (Me Rosvolat 2010-)

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