Bissinger Promises Caitlyn Jenner Memoir Will Include Olympics, Kardashians
What can readers expect to learn about Caitlyn Jenner from her forthcoming book that they don’t already know?
Plenty, says co-author Buzz Bissinger, the Pulitzer-Prize winning reporter and author of Jenner’s coming-out-as-a-woman profile in Vanity Fair last year.
Jenner’s memoir, which its publisher expects to release in the spring of 2017, will be part personal reflection and part reporting based on interviews with those who have known her from her youth as Bruce Jenner through the present.
This was one of the conditions Bissinger asked Jenner to agree to when she approached him about collaborating on the memoir last summer, after the Vanity Fair feature had appeared.
“I had some concerns I relayed to her before we met with publishers,” he said. “I didn’t want this to be a superficial book and I didn’t want it to be a quickie book. I said to her, ‘Everything has to be on the table. I think there’s a way to talk about these subjects without it sounding like gossip or salacious. I want you to talk about everything: the issues you had with your transition, your experiences with the Kardashian family, your relationship with your children.'”
He also told her he wanted the book to be a reported book as well. Jenner agreed to all the conditions. Bissinger was pleased but not surprised.
“Sometimes I think we forget that Caitlyn did win the Olympics, and that she had focused on that for 18 years,” he said. “She said to me, ‘I know this is my one shot at a book, and I want this to be a great book.'”
Bissinger called her “a great partner” and said she has been cooperative as the interviews have gotten under way. So far, he has compiled a list of 60 people he wants to talk to, and he expects to have interviewed more than 100 people by the time his research is finished.
“I want to hold her accountable,” he said. “Having spent a lot of time with Caitlyn, I do find her an inspirational figure, but she is a complex figure and a conflicted one. I know she has made some mistakes, especially with her four children on ‘the Jenner side.'”
That said, the two have developed a deep rapport, forged in part by Bissinger’s forthrightness about his own explorations of gender fluidity. “My appetites, which I’ve openly talked about, my cross-dressing and having a significant fetish for women’s leather, enabled me to see her own struggle more clearly,” he said. “I’m not saying I’m dealing with gender dysphoria to anywhere near the extent Caitlyn did, but we did find common ground in that.”
And that also increased Bissinger’s respect for Jenner. “What Caitlyn has done has inspired me to be much more open about myself,” he said. “All I’m doing is expressing myself, and that should be celebrated, but it’s difficult. A lot of people have gone underground with their opinions because of the favorable publicity about Caitlyn, but I think a large number of people still find cross-dressing and gender-switching perverse and disgusting. Most of them now make their comments under disguised names, though. These are the Donald Trumpites, and there are a lot of them.”
Even though he will be doing a substantial amount of research for the book, he said, “This is her book. It’s in her voice. She has control because of the assurances she’s given me.”
Although the authors and the publisher have set a target of spring 2017 for the book’s release, Bissinger said that “this is a book that can’t be rushed.”
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