The Danish Girl: Coffee Shoppe Reads (REVIEW)


There has been a lot of talk recently about the new movie, The Danish Girl . It piqued my interest immediately. I'll be honest though, I rarely (if ever) go to movies, so I immediately added the movie to my Amazon wishlist and then purchased the book because, whenever I can, I'm a huge advocate of reading the book before seeing the movie!

The book, by David Ebershoff, takes from the true story of the first transgender surgery and the pioneer that was Lili Elbe. In the book, Einar Wegener a painter in Copenhagen, is supported by his wife Greta, on a journey of self-discovery and acceptance, as he transforms into Lili. Despite the unconditional love that Einar receives from Greta, he feels that this "burden" he bears is too great and makes a vow with himself that he will remedy the problems he feels he is struggling with, or commit suicide at the end of a years time. He knows that he is a woman living in the wrong body. His journey brings him to meet many doctors, who all offer different diagnoses and solutions. Eventually, Einar is introduced to professor, Dr. Bolk, who feels confident that he can perform surgery to transform Einar into Lili once and for all.

I feel that the The Danish Girl was beautifully written, with detail that truly brought my imagination to 1920s Copenhagen, Paris, and Dresden. The raw emotion and the journeys that the characters, primarily the main characters of Lili and Greta, embark on are entrancing - pulling the reader in. Despite the pain that exists throughout the book, it still makes for a wonderfully enjoyable story, that I personally, had a hard time putting down. You feel for these characters, who are immensely strong as they traverse unknown territory. While Lili is clearly the strongest character in the book, Greta stands out to me as well. In letting Lili be free, she must deal with the death of her relationship with Einar. Greta not only loses her husband and her marriage, but also a friend as Einar becomes Lili. Her strength through this whole story is profound.

Whether you have seen the movie, or plan to, I would strongly recommend reading the book. The Danish Girl is one of my favorite books that I've read so far this year, and I cannot wait to see the movie, which was released on March 1st. You can watch the trailer here, and purchase the movie here:

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