The Secrets of My Life by Caitlyn Jenner

The Secrets of My Life

The book will cover Caitlyn Jenner's childhood as Bruce Jenner and rise to fame as a gold-medal-winning Olympic decathlete; her marriages and her relationships with her children; her transition; and her experience as the world's most famous transgender woman....

Title:The Secrets of My Life
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:1538743981
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:368 pages

The Secrets of My Life Reviews

  • Ary Chest
    Apr 27, 2017

    Ary: Hi, Caitlyn! Glad you have a moment to sit with me and chat about your new book. Congrats!

    Caitlyn: Hi, Ary. Beautiful home you have. I didn't know welfare bought you nice houses like this one nowadays.

    Ary: Oh, Caitlyn. You're so funny. Like when you said you endorsed Ted Cruz, and later stated that you believed Trump could be flipped in trans issues. You broke the internet more than Kim's butt!

    Caitlyn: That wasn't a joke.

    Ary: (Coughs.) Anyway, let's get to the book. Can you tell us about i

    Ary: Hi, Caitlyn! Glad you have a moment to sit with me and chat about your new book. Congrats!

    Caitlyn: Hi, Ary. Beautiful home you have. I didn't know welfare bought you nice houses like this one nowadays.

    Ary: Oh, Caitlyn. You're so funny. Like when you said you endorsed Ted Cruz, and later stated that you believed Trump could be flipped in trans issues. You broke the internet more than Kim's butt!

    Caitlyn: That wasn't a joke.

    Ary: (Coughs.) Anyway, let's get to the book. Can you tell us about it?

    Caitlyn: Of course! I'm so proud of it! It's got more words than I could produce in one season of a reality show!

    Ary: Can you tell us what's in it?

    Caitlyn: I cover a lot of time in 300 pages. It starts from when I was little boy. There's a lot of focus on the last two years, when Caitlyn was introduced and got adjusted into the world. I still am!

    Ary: Interesting. Last two years? You mean the same chunk of time that was extensively covered my every major media outlet, blogger, and your own reality show I Am Cait?

    Caitlyn: Exactly! It was the most turbulent yet rewarding time of my life!

    Ary: Interesting for a book titled The Secrets of My Life. Where are the secrets? It's not secret if cameras were on you 24/7.

    Caitlyn: Oh, there are secrets! You see, the book has a special structure. Each chapter alternates from my early years and Olympic career to the more recent past. The last two years are sort of a framing device to show how I'm making a difference for the trans community, while the chapters on the past show how I came to terms with my trans identity.

    Ary: Wonderful! That's a lot like Alan Cummings memoir Not My Father's Son. He used the same structure to show how far he came from his poor, English town and how he navigated his adult life being in the closet. Was this contrast a shared goal with your book?

    Caitlyn: Not really. I had a much juicier goal. I used the present day chapters to debunk media myths that were made about me and fire back at people who talked about me in a way I didn't like. There's also a lot on how mean O.J. was.

    Ary: So what exactly is so unique and secretive about writing the last two years since your first Diane Sawyer interview?

    Caitlyn: You get to read about it from my point of view! I tell a lot about my Versace dress.

    Ary: Now let's go into the past a little.

    Caitlyn: I struggled with gender identity for a long time.

    Ary: Go on.

    Caitlyn: What? That's all you need to know. I give lots of stories about how I used to crossdress and see if I could get away with it in public. I had many close calls. That's pretty wild.

    Ary: What about the part when you truly accepted your trans identity? Did it happen, when your first wife caught you crossdressing.

    Caitlyn: The answer is in the book.

    Ary: It just says she was shocked. What happened after that?

    Caitlyn: Moving on.

    Ary: What about Linda? You wrote that you two went to couples therapy over the matter. What were on those sessions? That seems pretty secretive.

    Caitlyn: Nobody cares.

    Ary: What about Gertrude, the gender therapist you sought out. You had a special bond with her. Did you tell us what was talked about in those sessions?

    Caitlyn: Get over your obsessions with therapists. Therapists aren't glamorous.

    Ary: But Kris is. And she is pissed over what you wrote about her. What did you write that is irking her so much?

    Caitlyn: That she was controlling over my gender identity and didn't want me doing anything weird in public.

    Ary: That's kind of expected of a woman who trademarks herself as a momager. We all figured that she was also a wifeager. Anything else? There has to be something. You can't possibly tell me that Kris being controlling of your image is the reality behind the reality show. Otherwise, that would make her public statements about your book just another PR stunt to boost sales. I can't think of why she would do that, other than maybe so you'll stop suing her for money because you aren't collecting a paycheck from your show anymore.

    Caitlyn: .....

    Ary: So I guess you could say the secret in The Secrets of My Life is that the media and people are getting you wrong.

    Caitlyn: Bingo!

    Ary: Let's talk about the most controversial quality about you. Your politics. Do you go into why being a Republican can go hand in hand with being transgender or part of the L.G.B.T.Q. community?

    Caitlyn: No, actually, Bill Bissinger, my ghost writer made me appear more liberal. I say nothing about my politics, but I talk extensively about my white privilege and how not enough light is shed on the community. That's pretty openminded.

    Ary: That's pretty intriguing. Did that get you thinking about how the L.G.B.T.Q. movement goes hand in hand with the Black Lives Matter movement. Both minorities knows what it's like to be discriminated. The Stonewall Riot was instigated by a trans woman. Do you see parallels between that revolutionary communal act and the protests happening today?

    Caitlyn: Hey, let's not go too far. Khloe was married to a black guy, Kylie was dating one, and Rob almost got married to Blac Chyna. I'm good in that department.

    Ary: I guess those talks with Bill didn't go so great.

    Caitlyn: No, but he did do a good job writing in my voice. I've struggled with reading my whole life, so Bill was courteous to write the book like I would've done it, with tons of grammatical errors that make reading it hard. I tell you, I hate commas. When I write, I don't bother creating clauses in my sentences, so they run on.

    Ary: It looks to me like Bill did a lot more than write in your voice. He captured the characteristics you most value in yourself. Like you humble you say you were after the Olympics, not wanting to milk your fame too much, even though you did nothing but make public appearances for a living and signed on to be a sports correspondent. But it's not your fault. It's not like there was anything you could've done. Triathlon coach is so old retiree work. And then there's how you say you're such a good listener. Never mind you turning into a nuclear bomb when your costars on I Am Cait disagreed with you on who should be the next president. I can see these listening skills were applied to the L.G.B.T.Q. community. You did a lot of research. Like when you said there had never been an openly gay N.F.L. star.

    Michael Sam: Hey, I beg to differ!

    Caitlyn: Shut up, Michael. Your fifteen minutes are over. I didn't even have my first public kiss with a guy yet. And, Ary, you're wrong about me and the community. I talk about my trans friends a lot in the book.

    Ary: Yes, everyone who was on the show with you. I can tell you are nostalgic for I Am Cait. You ever refer to Jenifer Finney Boylan as your I Am Cait sister. Not your trans sister, your I Am Cait sister. Yes, because reality TV is what binds us all together for life. Isn't that right, Kim?

    Kim: What did you say? Cait, you better not get a bigger ass than me!

    Cait: The show was groundbreaking. I mean, I shone the spotlight on a community in the shadows.

    Ary: Yes, I love all those interviews you conducted with so many people who suffered. You were like a real journalist. I could feel the passion to take a bad experience and use it to make the world a better place. Oh, wait, I'm thinking of Leah Remini's docuseries on Scientology.

    Leah: Hey, my book kicks way more ass!

    Ary: Yes, it does, Leah. Yes, it does.

    I can't with this woman. I know this will be a #1 bestseller. She's like that one guest at the party you have to invite so you don't appear like a dick, not because you want to. She just keeps barging into our lives with some ridiculous statement. Caitlyn does try to humble herself in this book, but she only does it to the bare minimum she needs to. She isn't this deep, introspective person because she wants to, but because she knows she has to, if she wants to be liked. Caitlyn, take an example from The Art of the Deal. If there's anything Trump has taught us, being liked has nothing to do with being successful.

    I know you still have your flaws. I know you are still working things out. I'm proud you can be open about them. And, I'll give it to you, the humor sprinkled in your book was kind of funny. But, please, for someone who admires Janet Mock's and Kate Bornstein's books, you could've taken the opportunities to amplify their messages in your writing. I know this is a memoir, and it is about you. It should be, of course. But, like your show, we don't learn anything new about being trans that we already got from the internet. God forbid a trans woman be your ghost writer.

    This book is just an extension of her reality show because, like the rest of the Kardashians, she only way she can see herself is through a camera.

  • BAM The Bibliomaniac
    May 26, 2017

    Caitlyn deserves credit for being so honest about her confusion and life-altering decisions. She's very fortunate that Bruce's ex wives and children are all so supportive. What kept going through my mind as I read this though was that this story was in no way typical for a transgender. This was practically a fairy tale compared to the majority of those faced with the difficult choices that come with being trapped inside the wrong body. Caitlyn has tons of money, a huge support system, access to

    Caitlyn deserves credit for being so honest about her confusion and life-altering decisions. She's very fortunate that Bruce's ex wives and children are all so supportive. What kept going through my mind as I read this though was that this story was in no way typical for a transgender. This was practically a fairy tale compared to the majority of those faced with the difficult choices that come with being trapped inside the wrong body. Caitlyn has tons of money, a huge support system, access to excellent medical care. That's why her advocacy of the LGBT community is so positive. She is a well-known face in the media who is compassionate and sincere. I hope she can make a difference.

  • Janet
    Apr 25, 2017

    I picked this up whilst on vacation as I wanted to read something fluffy. What a badly written book. Torturous. Yikes. What a waste of money.

    KUWTK is fluffy, inane and stupid ... as is this book. Yes, a fluffy read --- if you do not like my opinion, stick it in your pipe and smoke it. (that is the G-rated version of what I wanted to state in response to all the lovely hate messages I have been getting)

    I am not a bigot --- I have family and friends of all genders, races and sexual persuasions (no

    I picked this up whilst on vacation as I wanted to read something fluffy. What a badly written book. Torturous. Yikes. What a waste of money.

    KUWTK is fluffy, inane and stupid ... as is this book. Yes, a fluffy read --- if you do not like my opinion, stick it in your pipe and smoke it. (that is the G-rated version of what I wanted to state in response to all the lovely hate messages I have been getting)

    I am not a bigot --- I have family and friends of all genders, races and sexual persuasions (not that I should have to state that but YOU called me that and told me to go back to my KKK meeting).

    I am practicing my FREEDOM OF SPEECH...if I hate a book I hate a book. It is not because the writer is not my kind of person...it is because it is a BADLY WRITTEN BOOK.

    P.S. I had to read this a second time for bookclub. we all hated it.

  • Gina *loves sunshine*
    Apr 26, 2017

    The memoir of Bruce Jenner, now Caitlyn. I thought it was well paced, interesting and the narrator was good. In the case of memoirs, I really enjoy when a author narrates their own book. But as Caitlyn explains in the beginning, she is not a great reader, has always suffered from dyslexia, and thought it would work better with a professional - it was fine and still felt authentic!

    I do watch the Kardashian's show, I did watch the interview with Diane Sawyer, I did not watch The Cait show after th

    The memoir of Bruce Jenner, now Caitlyn. I thought it was well paced, interesting and the narrator was good. In the case of memoirs, I really enjoy when a author narrates their own book. But as Caitlyn explains in the beginning, she is not a great reader, has always suffered from dyslexia, and thought it would work better with a professional - it was fine and still felt authentic!

    I do watch the Kardashian's show, I did watch the interview with Diane Sawyer, I did not watch The Cait show after the first few episodes. I don't pay much attention to Enews or magazines, etc. I didn't read Vanity Fair. I tell you this because I did feel like the first 60% of the book was more of a rehash of what they have all talked about on their show - because a lot of what this book is about - is feelings!! I had read Linda's book, his ex-wife, and she told a lot of the same stories. I would not say this book is full of secrets. I do feel like so much is already out there! It's not dishy, just a "getting to know you better" feel to it!! It's a look at the life of Bruce and his family and how he felt at key parts. As a boy, in college while he was competing, at the olympics, with his parents and siblings and with each of his wives. I imagine it does feel good to just put your side out there!

    The final 40% of the book covers his relationship with Kris, which may be the most revealing. Also the last 2 years of life that does touch on a lot of the struggles with his relationships with family and covers all the things she did to achieve her full transition.

    Obviously pick up this book if you are curious!!!

  • Barbara
    May 16, 2017

    Note: In my review of this memoir I'm going to follow the author's lead, using male pronouns for Bruce 'pre-transition,' and female pronouns for Caitlyn 'post-transition.' I also want to note that - though I've seen the odd episode - I don't watch 'Keeping Up With the Kardashians', haven't read the Vanity Fair article about Jenner, and don't follow the innumerable stories about Jenner in the media.

    In 1976 Bruce Jenner won an Olympic gold medal for the decathlon, earning the title 'World's Great

    Note: In my review of this memoir I'm going to follow the author's lead, using male pronouns for Bruce 'pre-transition,' and female pronouns for Caitlyn 'post-transition.' I also want to note that - though I've seen the odd episode - I don't watch 'Keeping Up With the Kardashians', haven't read the Vanity Fair article about Jenner, and don't follow the innumerable stories about Jenner in the media.

    In 1976 Bruce Jenner won an Olympic gold medal for the decathlon, earning the title 'World's Greatest Athlete.' In photos, it's clear the champion was well-built and movie-star handsome. No one would have guessed that Bruce hated his body, feeling he was stuck with the wrong (male) physique. Almost forty years later, in 2015, Bruce publicly transitioned to his true female gender, becoming Caitlyn Jenner. In this book Caitlyn tells her story.

    From the time he was in elementary school, Bruce felt like something was wrong with him. He was dyslexic, with "massive reading difficulties", and dreaded going to school. He was also drawn to female attire and - when alone in the house - would put on his mother's dress, slip on his sister's shoes, apply a dab of lipstick, and gaze into the mirror.....feeling "something was right about this." At that time, in the 1950's - the word 'transgender' was far in the future - and Bruce had no vocabulary to describe his compulsions. Thus he was bewildered, uncomfortable, and intensely secretive.

    Bruce soon discovered he was a gifted athlete and threw himself into sports, in part to distract himself from his gender concerns. As a youth Bruce took up water-skiing, basketball, football, and track and field - becoming a high school star. It was at Graceland College, though, where Bruce set his sights on the decathlon. With the strong encouragement of college Coach L.D. Weldon, Bruce started to train for the ten decathlon events: the 100 meters, the long jump, the shot put, the high jump, the 400 meters, the 110-meter hurdles, the discus, the pole vault, the javelin, and the 1,500 meters. According to the author, "You can lose yourself in that [practice]. Whatever thoughts you have inside don't go away, but they do go numb."

    At Graceland College Bruce met his first wife, Chrystie, who supported him emotionally and financially as he trained to be a world class competitor. In secret, Bruce would don his wife's clothes, and when Chrystie discovered this in 1973, Bruce told her about his gender issues. Chrystie was shocked, but Bruce (disingenuously) told her it was 'a phase', and matters were left like that as Bruce continued training.

    Once Bruce won the gold medal at the Montreal Olympics, he had many financial opportunites: he became the 'face' of Wheaties; appeared on talk shows; did a special with Bob Hope; dipped a toe into movies and TV series; became a broadcaster for a number of network sports shows; and traveled around the country giving motivational speeches. For various reasons - including his gender dysphoria - Bruce and Chrystie grew apart and separated. Attempts at reconciliation failed, and the couple divorced in 1981, leaving their son and daughter - Burt and Casey - essentially fatherless.

    Meanwhile, Bruce met Linda Thompson, an actress and songwriter who happened to be Elvis Presley's former girlfriend. Bruce and Linda dated for several years, married in 1981, and had two sons - Brandon and Brody. While married to Linda, in the early 1980s, Bruce was "struggling with the issue of [his] identity more than ever." The author writes about those years, "I seek every opportunity I can to cross-dress" and "[I] get my hands on a couple of wigs." Fearing Linda would catch him, Bruce told her that he identified as a woman. She didn't understand, was shocked to see him in female mode, and their marriage ended shortly afterward. Once again, Bruce essentially abandoned his children.

    Bruce was very unhappy by the mid-1980s, so he isolated himself in a small house in Malibu and lowered his public profile. Bruce started seeing a therapist named Trudy Hill and got electrolysis - a long term, painful procedure - to permanently remove his facial and chest hair. Bruce's trusted friend, Wendy Roth, helped him purchase women's clothing and wigs. Bruce also started hormone therapy, which gave him womanly breasts. Jenner writes, "Obviously.....when you have your beard removed and the effects of hormones kick in, people are going to notice." In addition, Bruce sometimes ventured out and drove around dressed as a woman. The writer states about that era, "I am now almost forty. I feel good....[having] allowed the woman inside me to live and breathe." BUT, Bruce greatly feared discovery - afraid of what his kids would think and doubtful of obtaining employment if he was exposed.

    Feeling he needed to bring 'Bruce Jenner - Olympic champion' back into the public eye, Bruce discontinued hormone therapy in 1990 and started dating Kris Kardashian, who was in the middle of a divorce. Bruce and Kris married in 1991, and - according to the author - had a loving, sexual relationship (at first). Jenner notes that Kris knew about his cross-dressing and permitted it.....but not at home. Thus, Bruce packed wigs, make-up, and womens' outfits when he went out of town for promotional talks, and dressed up in his hotel at night. He would then walk through the lobby and go for a drive wearing ladies' garments.....a terribly risky venture.

    According to the author, Kris got him back in the gym and 'helped restore his image and credibility.' She also reveled in being married to a high profile celebrity. For his part, Bruce was a caring stepfather to the Kardashian kids - (Kim, Kourtney, Khloe, and Rob) and a devoted dad to his two daughters with Kris (Kendall and Kylie). In recent years, Jenner - who openly admits to being a terrible father to the first four Jenner children - reached out and established affectionate bonds with them as well.

    Bruce, Kris, and their brood rubbed along pretty happily until 'Keeping Up With the Kardashians' - which debuted in 2007 - became a runaway hit. Jenner observes that he was depicted on the show as, "....the well-meaning but confused and helpless father and husband. I get love but little respect." Jenner also observes, "I believe that the more successful [the show] becomes, the less [Kris] needs me and "[it's] more obvious.....that Kris wants me out of the house as much as possible." Moreover, the scads of people in the house during the show's filming afforded Bruce little privacy - and he was desperately lonely amidst the crowd.

    By 2013 Bruce had separated from Kris and moved into a house in Malibu. He had a tracheal shave, to reduce the size of his Adam's apple and - despite elaborate efforts at secrecy - was exposed on TMZ....to his great embarassment. Bruce contemplated suicide at this time, but spoke to his pastor and rallied. By 2015, Bruce decided to make the transition to female. At the time, the author contemplated, "How am I going to do this without being subjected to even more worldwide ridicule than I already have been? The idea of a man becoming a woman is still shocking and weird to people, ghoulishly funny."

    Thus, Bruce contacted his former publicist, Alan Nierob, who arranged for an interview with Diane Sawyer and an article in Vanity Fair magazine - both respected forums in which Bruce would tell the world he was becoming Caitlyn. Prior to the publicity, Bruce confided his plans to his family - sister, mother, children, and step-children - and to his management team.....all of whom expressed support (though Bruce suspected not everyone was completely sincere).

    The author thought, "I want to look as physically a woman as I possibly can" and went on to have facial feminization surgery, a breast augmentation, and "The Final Surgery"

    - a vaginoplasty (conversion of penile tissue into a vagina).

    Towards the end of the book, Caitlyn writes, "I have written this book to help us see that there is no right way to be, no wrong way to be, or any way to be except who you are." Caitlyn talks a great deal about her support of the LGBTQ community, especially transgender individuals - who experience frequent discrimination....and even violence. Caitlyn knows that her position as a high profile transgender person gives her a platform to try and effect change.

    For people interested in the 'dishier' parts of the book, here are a few tidbits:

    - During his motivational speeches, Bruce dressed in a suit and tie.....but had a bra and panties on underneath.

    - Jenner says about O.J. Simpson, "[Knowing him] a litle bit goes a very long way because of his endless braggadocio" and "[O.J.] is the most narcissistic, egogentric, neediest, asshole in the world of sports I had every seen." Jenner believes O.J. murdered Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman, and asserts that Kris's ex-husband, Robert Kardashian - one of O.J.'s lawyers - wouldn't have minded if O.J. was convicted.

    -Kris controlled all the money during their marriage (though she generously bought Bruce a Porsche) and scrutinized his credit card purchases with a fine tooth comb.

    - Of the Kardashian clan, Kim is the most accepting of Caitlyn's transition, while Khloe is having the most difficulty with it, and barely speaks to her stepfather. (Caitlyn notes that she told her kids it's fine to call her 'dad.')

    -Caitlyn is not particularly interested in sex with either women or men.

    -Caitlyn is a lifelong Republican, though that party is not renonwed for its open-mindedness towards LGTBQ issues. (On her Instagram, Caitlyn takes Donald Trump to task, telling him to 'call her.')

    -Rumors that Caitlyn regrets making the transition are a complete lie.

    I read this book out of curiosity. I had seen Caitlyn promoting the book on morning TV and read an excerpt in People magazine....so when I saw the book on the 'new arrivals' shelf at the library, I snagged it. In my opinion, this is a sincere depiction of Caitlyn's experiences as she remembers them. Caitlyn's story is compelling, and helped me better understand people who have gender dysphoria. I felt great empathy when Caitlyn talked about her shame, fear, loneliness, and isolation - which reverberated through the years and affected every relationship she had. I hope Caitlyn's story provides help and comfort to people who have issues similar to hers.

    That said, the book's writing (I assume by co-author Buzz Bissinger) is on the lower end of adequate and the story includes a lot of fluff and padding. Still, if you have an interest in (or are curious about) the subject, you'll find something here.

    You can follow my reviews at

  • Lisa K
    Jun 05, 2017

    3 stars for the OJ gossip, especially bold considering he's up for parole and hates women, zero stars for the rest!

    Off the top of my head:

    #1 are you allowed to describe someone as having a "Jewish accent"

    #2 did Kris edit the book so she could take a royalty cut but not actually read it or was there just no editor whatsoever

    #3 I can't decide if it was "shopping addict" Buzz Bissinger or Caitlyn but how are you comparing male ejaculation to menstruation

    #4 Caitlyn WHY would you brag about not re

    3 stars for the OJ gossip, especially bold considering he's up for parole and hates women, zero stars for the rest!

    Off the top of my head:

    #1 are you allowed to describe someone as having a "Jewish accent"

    #2 did Kris edit the book so she could take a royalty cut but not actually read it or was there just no editor whatsoever

    #3 I can't decide if it was "shopping addict" Buzz Bissinger or Caitlyn but how are you comparing male ejaculation to menstruation

    #4 Caitlyn WHY would you brag about not reading feminist authors

    #5 extremely misleading title, THERE WEREN'T ANY SECRETS

    This book sucked!

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