In the engaging memoir, Hung in the Middle, author Alana Nicole Sholar shares her personal journey of gender discovery. Born as Alan, the second of three ‘pure bred’ Kentucky boys, Sholar has lived her entire life surrounded by the fenced-in pastures of the beautiful Bluegrass region.
All the Sholar men, including Alan, spent most of their working years on various horse farms in the area surrounding Lexington, Kentucky. As a boy, Alan dreamed of becoming a jockey…and nearly made it. As a young man, he was compelled toward risky ‘macho’ behavior that kept hidden the inner turmoil of gender confusion.
One of Alana’s earliest childhood memories is trying on her mother’s clothes and discovering, not only that it felt good…but it just seemed right. However, in that place—rural central Kentucky—and at that time—the 1960’s—this was not something to be admitted, or talked about, ever.
As Alan, Sholar is a fast-driving, hard-drinking, guitar-playing horse whisperer. On the way to becoming Alana, she is recognized as the star pupil of the training class where she learns to drive over-the-road eighteen wheel trucks. Meanwhile, she is also learning to walk in high heels and apply her makeup correctly.
In the end, Hung in the Middle is a love story. It is about learning to love yourself. It is one of those familiar—but always irresistible—tales about falling in love with someone who is inaccessible, but never giving up the pursuit. It is about finding your soul mate…and finally, it is a personal story about 21st century America’s evolution toward the acceptance and celebration of gender diversity.