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Man Made: A Memoir

Baker, Ken

63 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 1585420832 / ISBN 13: 9781585420834
Published by Tarcher
Used Condition: Fair Hardcover
From Crashing Rocks Books (Punta Gorda, FL, U.S.A.)

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1585420832 Used; Book in acceptable condition. May have markings, highlighting, foxing, inscription and signs of wear. Ships fast with tracking! May be missing DJ or ex-library. Bookseller Inventory # 9781585420834

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Man Made: A Memoir

Publisher: Tarcher

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Fair

About this title

Synopsis:

The bracingly honest memoir of a star athlete who lived with a brain tumor that flooded his body with female hormones and sent him into a sexual netherworld from which he would emerge with insights about sexuality and manhood few could imagine.

On the surface, Ken Baker seemed a model man. He was a

nationally ranked hockey goalie; girls threw themselves at him; fans cheered him. Inside, though, he didn't feel like a "man." Baker found that despite his attraction to women, he had little sex drive and even less of a sex life. To his anguish, he repeatedly found himself unable to perform sexually. Despite strenuous workouts, his body remained flabby and soft.

In his eventual career as a Hollywood correspondent for People, Baker found himself challenged and tormented by the sexually charged atmosphere of Tinseltown. His relations with women fractured. Physically, matters would grow more bizarre as he would one day find himself lactating.

The macho culture that reared Baker made it agonizingly difficult for him to seek help. But he would eventually learn that he was suffering from a rare brain tumor that flooded his body with massive amounts of a female hormone. Six hours of brain surgery would accomplish what years of therapy, rumination, and denial could not. Finally, Ken Baker would be able to feel-and function-like a man.

At a moment of heated debate over nature versus nurture, Man Made-like no other book-illuminates the biochemical nature of sexuality. Moreover, it is a fascinating chronicle of growing up sexually as a male in America-and a profound recollection of the pain that accompanies sexual dysfunction in our post sexual-revolution culture.

Review:

Ken Baker was a working-class boy from Buffalo, New York, who dreamed of playing professional hockey; his idea of masculinity was formed by a father who chain-smoked, warned his sons that "girls will ruin your life" (he had to marry the author's pregnant mother), and sneered at doctors' warnings to mend his bad habits--"You gotta die of something." But Baker had a tumor in his brain that flooded his body with the female hormone prolactin; he leaked milk from his nipples and could hardly ever have an erection. His wince-inducing memoir pulls no punches and uses no euphemisms in telling what it was like to be a sexually dysfunctional man in a sex-saturated society. Female readers may take a certain grim satisfaction in learning that men, too, can feel vulnerable and sexually exploited, but most will simply marvel at Baker's willingness to reveal the gory details of his failure-riddled sex life. Although he makes some high-minded claims about the insights he gained from his ordeal ("I was able to journey to a biological place few men will ever know.... My manhood today is stronger because of it"), what's really gripping here is his blow-by-blow account of what it felt like to dread sex instead of chase it, to approach intercourse as a test rather than a pleasure. We can only be relieved that surgery restored him to hormonally normal masculinity at age 27, although the girlfriend who stood by him through it and then listened to him explode with testosterone-charged rage when she complained about his subsequent insensitivity might disagree. Baker's slick prose reflects his background in celebrity journalism (he worked at People and is now a senior writer at Us), but there's no denying the fascination of his bizarre story. --Wendy Smith

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