by Rae Theodore
My Mother Says Drums Are For Boys is a humorous and heartfelt memoir comprised of stories about that middle place where boy and girl collide. Rae Theodore grew up as a young butch (or tomboy, as it was called back in the day), wanting to play the drums, wear football jerseys like her brother and always be in close proximity to Olivia Newton-John. She’s tried to conform to gender norms at different points in her life. She really has. It wasn’t until Rae came out later in life and embraced those things that always made her happy-baseball caps, flannel shirts, neckties in every color of the rainbow-that she discovered her authentic self. My Mother Says Drums Are For Boys is required reading for all butches, genderqueers and other gender warriors and rebels, as well as anyone interested in looking at gender in a new way.
For the record, Rae is still bitter about being forbidden to play the drums and often dreams about going on tour with The Runaways and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. In her fantasy, Rae and Joan don’t give a damn about their reputations and score so many chicks.
This book is an interesting collection of short stories and poetry about self discovery, and awakening awareness of a ‘gender rebel’. I especially liked ‘Mystery’ because this story goes full circle, in the sense that it’s last sentence is universal, and applies to all of us, male and female and in-between-ers. It’s going to take me awhile to read all of this book, not because it’s a big book, but because the ideas are big, and challenging, and thought provoking. Highly recommended.