FEATURED IN PUBLISHERS WEEKLY's "STILL HERE, STILL QUEER: LBGTQ BOOKS 2020"
Pass with Care is a testament to trans resilience, queer joy, and the power of finding freedom and adventure within a community of your own creation. Transgender writer, artist, and activist Cooper Lee Bombardier shifts effortlessly between lyrical essays, poetry, and narrative nonfiction as his own landscape changes over the course of two decades. From working-class New England to the queer punk scene of early ’90s-San Francisco to New Mexico’s deserts, Bombardier documents his experiences with compassion and reverence, offering us an expansive view of gender and sexuality, masculinity and tenderness, and the difference between surviving and thriving.
A gorgeously rendered response to what one might call the “Now what?” question: After an experience as metamorphic and all-consuming as a gender transition, what happens next? Who do we become after that becoming? Where do we locate meaning?—THE RUMPUSA record of bygone eras—notably the queer punk scene of nineties San Francisco—Pass With Care is equally a contemporary political text that wrestles with questions of queerness, transness, and masculinity as they unfold today and into the future.—POETS & WRITERSOne of the year's strongest essay collections.—LARGEHEARTED BOYMulti-faceted and textured...By taking stock of his own faults and failures, successes and dreams, [Bombardier] enables us to more clearly see ourselves, which is memoir’s highest purpose.—GERTRUDE PRESSThis is a volume of juxtapositions and repositions looking for a self/other relationship of balance. Cooper is deep, he searches, he travels, relates through different forms, different voices, an emotional gravitas as the only constant...He works to separate the ever-changing issues of being a complex person with the ever-changing experience of being trans, so that trans and person become one and Cooper and person become one, as the land and cities shift. Pass with Care is moving in both senses of the word.—SARAH SCHULMAN, author of Maggie Terry, The Cosmopolitans, Conflict is Not Abuse, and othersPass with Care is a memoir of becoming, an essay collection as layered and lovely as the life it describes: from working-class kidhood to '90s dyke utopia to life of letters, I cheered this hero on at every turn.—MELISSA FEBOS, author of Whip Smart and Abandon MeCooper Lee Bombardier’s tender and fierce writing brings class and gender, art and life together with big heart and tough intelligence. I’ve long been influenced by his voice and am so excited to watch Pass with Care enter our crucial contemporary canon.—MICHELLE TEA, author of Astro Baby, Against Memoir, Black Wave, and othersPass with Care is an insightful trans memoir. It’s also a brilliant book about ambivalence, class in America, self-acceptance, discovery.—CHRIS KRAUS, author of Summer of Hate and After Kathy AckerPass with Care pairs heart-in-hand vulnerability with the split-knuckle candor of venerated queer voices like Dorothy Allison and Saeed Jones. In singular blue-collar lyricism, Bombardier brings the trans-masc experience into view—gritty as a classic honkytonk song, and as unforgettable, too.—LILY BURANA, author of Grace for Amateurs: Field Notes on a Journey Back to Faith, I Love a Man in Uniform, and Strip CityBlessed are those who get to watch a man become a man on the page and feel pride and joy at his offerings in Pass with Care. Each sentence is a story, entering room after room of shed skin and raw truths tethered to the squared problems of language imposed on trans bodies. Bombardier’s moxie, grace, kindness, and ferocity as a writer and thinker are unmatched and lasting.—SOPHIA SHALMIYEV, author of Mother WinterIn these clear-eyed, intelligent, intimate essays, Cooper Lee Bombardier writes fearlessly and profoundly about gender, identity, and class. Whether examining the loneliness of men, the fierceness of the dyke community in 1990s San Francisco, or the intricacies of his own gender transition, Bombardier leads with curiosity and vulnerability, unveiling a story of possibilities and resilience, and shining a light on a self who has learned “how to make freedom.” A much-needed, wonderful collection.—CARTER SICKELS, author of The Prettiest StarPass with Care is a fantastic essay collection—wise, humble, and funny. The book ranks as a major addition to the body of trans literature. But it is, more importantly, a brilliant book about the construction of identity...A pure delight.—STEVE ALMOND, author of Bad Stories and CandyfreakPass with Care is much more than a memoir...breathtaking in its beauty.—JONATHAN D. KATZ, curator of Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, the first major museum queer exhibition in the U.S.Funny, honest, and soulful, [Pass with Care] educates without preaching and entertains without cheapening. It's a marvel, and so is its author.—TOM BISSELL, author of Apostle and co-author of The Disaster Artist