Life as a Diamond
Life as a Diamond
I replay that strike sometimes, because that is when I knew. Caz, you are on your own. Then it happened. The second pitch was coming straight for me — not my bat, but my head. I spun fast and got stuck on the top of my shoulder. It felt as if someone had dipped it in fire.
Was it wrong to cut my hair and ask to be called Caz? I was so tired of feeling like nothing about me felt right — my hair, my name, my clothes. I had thought my team would understand. I’d known most of the Lightning since we were little. They must have all been put in the right bodies when they were born. Why was it so wrong that I wanted the same thing?
Ten-year-old Caspar, also known to friends and family as “Caz”, recently moved with his parents to a suburb of Seattle from Toronto. This was a fresh start for Caz who, shortly before moving, informed his parents that he no longer wanted to be called Cassandra, asserting his identity as a boy. This slice-of-life story centres on Caz’s life immediately following the move when he joins a local baseball team and begins the task of making new friends, fitting in with a new team, and gaining comfort with his identity.
Jenny Manzer’s passion for baseball and understanding of the Pacific Northwest shines through her narrative. Following the story, Manzer notes the process she used to characterize Caz, acknowledging herself as a CIS gender woman. While it would be ideal to see more works produced by those within the transgender community, Manzer’s characters are authentic, weaving gender identity into a tale that is ultimately about navigating new (if somewhat white, middle-class) experiences of moving, making friends, fitting in, and developing self-confidence. The plot and characters strike an ideal balance that will have wide appeal, introducing readers to themes of gender identity that avoids didacticism and sensationalism. My Life as a Diamond will appeal to readers interested in baseball, team-sports, and realistic fiction.
Christina Neigel is an Associate Professor at the University of the Fraser Valley, Abbotsford, British Columbia. She is currently completing her Doctorate in Education with a focus on gender, librarianship, and popular media.