June 17, 2024

Bad Habit

By Alana S. Portero
Review by
Actress Alexandra Grey resonantly reads Alana S. Portero’s stunning debut, Bad Habit, chronicling a trans girl’s coming of age in 1980s Madrid.
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Spanish novelist Alana S. Portero debuts with Bad Habit (5.5 hours), a brief but stunning coming-of-age novel set in a working-class neighborhood of Madrid during the 1980s and 1990s. The unnamed narrator describes her early awareness of hostility towards her nascent trans identity, hostility which exponentially compounds other dangers like drugs and poverty that confront all of the neighborhood’s young people: “We grew up like that: generations of working-class kids dreaming up whole worlds in the very same plots that might one day become our final resting places.” Actress Alexandra Grey, who is a trans woman, reads with a smooth and resonant voice that mirrors the lyricism of Portero’s words in Mara Faye Lethem’s English translation. This image-rich, unsentimental portrayal of a vibrant yet vulnerable place will transport readers into a world and a life worth understanding.

Read our starred review of the print version of Bad Habit.

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Bad Habit

Bad Habit

By Alana S. Portero
ISBN 9780063336148

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