Reviewed by Erin N.
In the 1920’s, Denmark saw the rise of one of its most renowned artistic couples, Einar and Greta Wegener. Einar was a native Dane, born and raised in the bogs of Bluetooth by an elderly grandmother and a bedridden father. Motherless and alone, Einar befriended the son of the Baron who helped Einar break out of his shell and learn his first lesson about gender identity. After years of smothering his feminine feelings, Einar picked up the paintbrush and lost himself in the scenic panoramas of his art.
Greta Waud grew up in the orange groves of California. Heiress to her parent’s orange empire, Greta constantly felt the need to escape her life and found this escape in her first husband, Teddy, and then in Copenhagen. Greta’s first marriage ended with the death of both her husband and her child. Greta’s second marriage ended with a death and a birth. But, Greta’s artistic career flourished when she began to paint her favorite subject, a shy but pretty young woman named Lili.
The Danish Girl is a fictionalized account of the life of Einar Wegener, Danish painter and the first person to undergo gender reassignment surgery. It is also a story about love, marriage, loss, and metamorphosis. David Ebershoff does a wonderful job of portraying the depth of love that one person can have for another and the almost split personality that the transgendered must endure in order to cope with a body that doesn’t match with who they are. A motion picture based upon The Danish Girl is in the works.
Erin fell in love with the written word as a small child and subsequently spent most of her life happily devouring literature. She works as a freelance news, marketing, and technical writer. Erin lives just outside of Cleveland, Ohio with her husband, children, and grandchildren.
A review copy was provided free of any obligation by Penguin. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.