In his quick, compulsive new memoir, Man Alive, Thomas Page McBee details his FTM transition following a moment of explosive violence. Walking home with his girlfriend one night in Oakland, Calif., McBee is nearly killed in a mugging, saved only when the female sound of his voice scares off his attacker. In that moment he feels both alive and not alive at all, recalling childhood traumas and suddenly becoming acutely aware of his struggle to remain in a woman’s body when he knows he’s a man. Flashing from the past to the present, McBee’s prose is crisp and attentive to the role pain plays in molding our identities. “Whoever’s child I am, my body belongs to me,” he proclaims, a crystalline reminder that our most fearsome and earthshaking confrontations are the ones we have with ourselves.