I actually didn't finish this book. I got maybe 2/3 of the way through. It's not BAD, it's just, as other reviewers have noted, not all that interesting. Instead of hearing about the eunuchs of India, we hear about Zia Jaffrey's quest to find out about the eunuchs of India. What did she find out? From what I read, not much. At least there are not many definitive answers, and instead of discussing it in a more historical or factual or academic fashion, it's a lot of "this person presenting as a hijra said this, and this other one said that, and this person who watched a ceremony said this but this other person who had a hijra in their home said that, and then this primary source, who also happened to be a) not from the culture they were observing, and b) bigoted, said THIS." Well all righty then. What is YOUR take on it, Zia Jaffrey?
Also she really could have done with researching trans* communities in the US. Mostly just for accuracy's sake--she conflates all kinds of different notions (sexual orientation, gender identity, assigned sex, gender presentation/expression, and then like, castration and pedophilia and kidnapping? I was like, wut?) and it seemed muddled to me. But also so that her target audience (which I assume is English-speaking as the book is written in English and she is from the US herself) would have that shared vocabulary to go on. There was one time where a guy said that herpes was "homosexual" or something, and she shut him down pretty fast, but I could've done with more of that attitude throughout the book.
This seems like it could have been really interesting from a historical perspective, or from an enthographic "how hijras live now" perspective, but that sort of information is apparently really hard to come by, so instead this is like a 250 page question mark.