Self-Made Woman

Self-Made Woman: A Memoir
by Denise Chanterelle DuBois
$26.95; 218 pages
ISBN: 978-0-299-31390-6, Cloth
University of Wisconsin Press
September 2017

Available where all fine books are sold.

For decades I kept Denise in the closet. Then I kept Dennis in the closet.

Denise DuBois’s transformation into a woman wasn’t easy. Born as a boy into a working-class Polish American Milwaukee family, she faced daunting hurdles: a domineering father, a gritty 1960s neighborhood with no understanding of gender nonconformity, trouble in school, and a childhood so haunted by deprivation that neckbone soup was a staple. Terrified of revealing her inner self, DuBois lurched through alcoholism, drug dealing and addiction, car crashes, dangerous sex, and prison time. Dennis barreled from Wisconsin to California, Oregon, Canada, Costa Rica, New York, Bangkok, and Hawaii on a joyless ride.

Defying all expectations, DuBois didn’t crash and burn. Embracing her identity as a woman, she remade herself. Writing with resolute honesty and humor, she confronts both her past and her present to tell an American story of self-discovery. 

When I’m dealt a bad day or find myself contemplating the what if’s of my future, I am so glad that the biggest what if no longer plagues me or breaks my stride. I’m Denise. That in and of itself makes me feel like fortune’s favorite daughter.

Self-Made Woman - Denise in Kauai, HI

"A fierce, unsparing memoir."

Kirkus Review



Advance praise for and reviews of Self-Made Woman: A Memoir, as well as videos and interviews with author Denise Chanterelle DuBois.

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where to purchase The Book

Self-Made Woman: A Memoir is available where all fine books are sold.

Published by the University of Wisconsin Press. Distributed globally to the book trade by the Chicago Distribution Center, except in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa by Eurospan Inc. 

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"A gripping account of the author's experience as a trans woman, a life lived in the shadows of abuse, alcoholism, drugs, and gender identity. Painful to read and yet so very important."

Michael Powell
founder, Powell's City of Books