Arts + Culture,  Here + Now

Love Lives Here: A Review

“Exposure is important. If you haven’t experienced something personally and learned about it that way, the next best thing is to learn from someone who has.”


When Amanda Jetté Knox decided to write about her family in her memoir, Love Lives Here: A Story of Thriving in a Transgender Family, she did it because she knew there weren’t a lot of positive stories out there about trans families. 

“We know that that’s not everyone’s story and that’s why we had to tell ours,” she said to the audience at an event organized by Toronto PFlag and the Toronto Trans Coalition Project on Jan. 13. 

Love Lives Here is about Jetté Knox’s family and how their lives changed when her child and spouse came out as transgender. The book starts at the beginning of Jetté Knox’s life as well as her wife Zoë’s and shows how their childhoods impacted the way they reacted when their daughter Alexis first came out in 2014 and then when Zoë came out almost a-year-and-a-half later in 2015.  

The honesty and openness that Jetté Knox possesses as the narrator of the story is what makes it an easy and heartfelt read. Through Jetté Knox’s descriptive writing and details about her past, readers are able to reflect with her about the decisions and choices she made. Her writing is funny, smart and raw and gives the readers a better understanding of how love and support for LGBTQ people can make a difference. 

But Jetté Knox acknowledges that she’s not perfect; she could have reacted differently in situations and she made mistakes when she first learned about her daughter wanting to transition — and then her wife. 

“Like racism or homophobia, transphobia can take a lifetime to acknowledge and unlearn,” Jetté Knox writes. “But this is especially important to do when you’re raising a trans child who needs your unwavering support. I had to unlearn at warp speed.…I knew I had some work to do, and I had better do it quickly. Because if I didn’t, she would be the one to pay the price.” 

In the book, Jetté Knox also writes about the privilege that she has as a ciswoman and the fact that she is taking up space to tell this story. This, among other reasons, is why Jetté Knox always refers to the book as “our book” instead of hers. Even though it’s her name on the book cover and she’s sharing her perspective of her family’s life, she consulted her family members to ensure that what she wrote was accurate and reflected their true emotions. 

Love Lives Here is a perfect book for people who might not know anything about the LGBTQ communities or their experiences; Jetté Knox does an excellent job of explaining key terms to her readers, helping them understand the LGBTQ communities more. Thus people, regardless of their affiliation to trans issues, will be able to connect with this book because of its authenticity. 

“We’re really boring and that’s why our story resonates with so many people,” Jetté Knox said, with a chuckle at the event; the 100 or so people at the Metropolitan United Church laughed with her. 

Love Lives Here is a book of hope; hope that one day the world will be a safer place for LGBTQ people and that one day, people will be able to be their genuine selves without fear of persecution. 

“My family members are the ones creating change. I’m just the story teller,” Jetté Knox writes. 

Jetté Knox’s book was announced as one of the books on CBC Canada Reads Longlist on Jan. 8 and is available for purchase online or at local bookstores. 

Feature Image by Victoria McMurchy

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