Review: Love Lives Here by Amanda jette Knox

I’ve been following Amanda Jette Knox on Twitter for a while now – she’s funny and fierce, particularly on behalf of her family. She writes often of her whole tribe, including her trans daughter and her trans wife. When Love Lives Here, her book about her family’s life, was released, I was pretty sure I’d love it based on her tweets alone.

And readers, I do absolutely love it. It’s honest about difficult things and compassionate with its honesty; Knox is fearless in talking about her own failings and fears, and in talking about her challenges with anxiety – and then in standing up for what and who she believes in.

Amanda Jette Knox’s life can make hard reading at times, particularly the violence of the bullying she experienced at school, and the legacy of both anxiety and resilience that sprang from it. (Having experienced bullying myself at school, though not to that extent, these sections spoke to me and gave me some insights on myself as well.)

Knox’s drive to ‘blend in’ and not be a target comes a cropper when one of her children comes out to her as trans, and so begins Amanda’s journey, and that of her whole family, to a life lived more whole and more authentic to themselves.

Her daughter’s transition, you see, provides the impetus for others to accept and then embrace their whole selves; Amanda’s spouse comes out a year later as trans, and a relationship that had been rocky and might have fallen apart transforms – and then Amanda is able to make and accept some further realisations about herself.

For all the difficulties Knox has faced and overcome, and continues (as we all do) to face and overcome, she also has a great and deep well of kindness and love to draw on, which is also fed by those she loves.

I feel like I’m about to start gushing about how wonderful this book is – and why not? It is wonderful. It has its share of wounds and pain, of fear and grief – but also full of healing and growth, courage and joy.

Love Lives Here is rich in hope, humour and the difference that being your true self can make to the quality of your life, while always recognising how challenging and sometimes dangerous that can be.

While this book is terrific as a potential resource for becoming better informed, for anyone who is transgender or has a trans loved one, I think it has a far wider audience: for anyone who wants to understand the world better, to enrich their knowledge and unlearn some of the ignorant and sometimes cruel things that we’ve absorbed about being human in the early parts of our lives.

The world can sometimes be a dark and lonely place, especially for anyone who doesn’t ‘fit’. But Love Lives Here fills me with hope and joy and the reminder that everyone fits, if only we will stop being afraid of difference.

Buy Love Lives Here