To the editor:

Michael Solot’s review (June 2) of John Colapinto’s book about the unfortunate David Reimer deserves a less biased response than that offered by Carla Hess (Letters, June 9).

Ms. Hess begins by attempting to ridicule what she calls Solot’s “true agenda,” revealed “when Solot asks whether Reimer has ‘any special insight into the feminine mind.'” Actually, Solot does not pose that question, Colapinto’s book does. Solot’s review makes this clear. Hess’s misquote would matter little–except that she bases her whole opening broadside on it.

Hess criticizes Solot for other imagined errors and oversights too complicated to catalog and refute here. It may suffice to address her last attack. Colapinto has told the story of how a child’s body parts and upbringing did not determine his fundamental identity. Solot explains this clearly. Yet Hess concludes her letter, angrily and oddly, by rejecting “that the presence or shape of a particular piece of tissue determines what one will prefer as toys or, later, as one’s life work.” Well, Colapinto and Solot reject that idea as well.

Jeff Balch