Book Review: ‘Rough Draft,’ by Katy Tur

POLITICS: Book Review: ‘Rough Draft,’ by Katy Tur

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As L.A. News falls apart, Marika flees her husband’s violent behavior, and the Tur family falls apart, too. But the father remains Tur’s unresolved business, cropping up to demand she pay the phone bill and unloading fresh drama when she least expects it. As when she’s covering the Boston bombing:

“Do you have a minute? Are you alone? Are you sitting down?”
Yes, Dad, I thought. What is it now?
“Well, I have some big news,” my dad said.
I took another bite of my cheeseburger, then nearly choked to death.
“I’ve decided to become a woman.”

Bob becomes Hannah, then settles on the name Zoey. Regarding her past violence against her wife and children, she blames the feeling of being trapped by a macho news identity.

Despite Tur’s efforts to understand, and Zoey’s self-appointed role as an erratic spokeswoman for the L.G.B.T.Q. community, the transition doesn’t help their relationship, and neither do Zoey’s strangely retrograde comments. “I’m already a worse driver,” Zoey claims, after starting hormones. But it’s Zoey’s demanding that Tur exonerate Bob that sticks in both Tur’s and the reader’s craw. “We need to talk about the violence,” Tur says on one call, trying to confront Zoey’s past. She writes, “It felt like my dad was using a get-out-of-gender-free card I didn’t know existed.”

“I already feel different,” Zoey replies. “My female brain is getting softer and more emotional. I’m filled with calm and love.” Eventually, Zoey says, “Bob Tur is dead.”

“The stuff Bob Tur did isn’t dead,” Katy Tur tries to explain. “You yelled. You hit. You caused pain.”

“Who did I hit?”

“All of us,” she says. “You even kicked the dog.” But Zoey denies it even harder.

As Tur’s fame grows, Zoey worsens her attacks against her daughter, telling media outlets she is transphobic and unsupportive because, Zoey says, supporting the L.G.B.T.Q. community would “hurt her career.” By Tur’s telling, none of this appears to be true; in fact, she seems patient, given Zoey’s provocations. She’s careful in using Zoey’s name and the pronoun “her” from the moment Zoey calls her to discuss her transition, while continuing to consider her a father (“I’m still Dad,” Zoey affirms).



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