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Book Review: ‘Rough Draft,’ by Katy Tur

As LA News falls apart, Marika flees her husband’s violent behavior, and the Tur family also falls apart. But the father remains the unsolved case of Tur, who shows up to demand that she pay the phone bill and release new drama when she least expects it. Like when she reports on the Boston bombing:

“Do you have a minute? Are you alone? Will you sit down?”
yes father, I thought. What is it now?
“Well, I have big news,” my father said.
I took another bite of my cheeseburger and nearly choked.
“I have decided to become a woman.”

Bob becomes Hannah and then chooses the name Zoey. As for her past violence against her wife and children, she blames feeling trapped in a macho news identity.

Despite Tur’s efforts to understand and Zoey’s self-proclaimed role as an erratic spokeswoman for the LGBTQ community, the transition doesn’t help their relationship, nor does Zoey’s weird retrograde comments. “I’m already a worse driver,” Zoey claims, after starting hormones. But it is Zoey’s demand that Tur exonerate Bob that remains in the gut of both Tur and the reader. “We need to talk about the violence,” Tur says during a phone call, trying to come to terms with Zoey’s past. She writes, “It felt like my dad was using a ‘get-out-of-gender-free’ card that I didn’t know existed.”

“I already feel different,” Zoey replies. “My female brain becomes softer and more emotional. I am filled with peace and love.” Finally Zoey says, “Bob Tur is dead.”

“What Bob Tur has done is not dead,” Katy Tur tries to explain. “You screamed. you touch. 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 intensifies her attacks on her daughter, telling the media that she is transphobic and unsupportive because, Zoey says, supporting the LGBTQ community “would hurt her career.” According to Tur, none of this is true; in fact, she seems patient, given Zoey’s provocations. She’s careful about using Zoey’s name and the pronoun “her” from the moment Zoey calls her to discuss her transition, while continuing to think of her as a father (“I’m still daddy,” Zoey confirms).

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