Despite the outrageous tabloid expectations that buzz around the new memoir from Caitlyn Jenner, “The Secrets of My Life” (Grand Central, 320 pp., $30) offers a surprising encounter with an honest, humble, gentle spirit who is quick to admit her mistakes as a husband, father and trans person with a steep learning curve. Co-written with Buzz Bissinger, the book reveals something beyond male and female: a fundamental humanity.
Here are the highlights:
1. Gender dysphoria fueled her athletic triumph. From the time she first cross-dressed at the age of 10, Jenner never lost the urge to be a woman. The pursuit of Olympic gold was “The Grand Diversion” — an obsessive pursuit powerful enough to give some relief.
2. She’s no mere decathlete. Jenner was MVP of high school football, basketball and track and went to college on a football scholarship. She’s also the winner of the Carpool Olympics — six hours a day in L.A. traffic while Kourtney, Kim, Kendall and Kylie were in school.
3. Caitlyn is a better golfer since transitioning. Her short game is stronger, and — what’s more — she’s no longer a miserable recluse who always plays alone.
4. She almost played Superman. Jenner read for the movie role before Christopher Reeve — but wouldn’t agree to a haircut.
5. Starbucks lured Jenner out of the closet. The first time Jenner appeared in public as a woman was while driving home from Vegas in a dress and wig — and she had to have a Grande Vanilla Latte.
6. Kris Kardashian saved Jenner. When they met, Bruce had taken female hormones for four and a half years; endured a long, painful electrolysis to remove beard and body hair; and had 36B breasts. But Jenner wasn’t ready to go all the way, and she says Kris gave Bruce another chance at life as a man.
7. Jenner is not attracted to men. Caitlyn has “never had the inclination” for a male companion. She’s just not that interested in sex, really.
8. Jenner has had the “final surgery.” Her gender reassignment process was a “success,” she feels “wonderful and liberated” — and she never wants to talk about it again.
9. Boy, does Jenner hate O.J. Simpson. Partly because as athlete-celebrities they had much in common, partly because Robert Kardashian’s defense of Simpson in court caused divided loyalties in the family, and finally because he is “the most narcissistic, egocentric, neediest” sports figure Jenner ever met.
10. Jenner contemplated suicide. When the gossip website TMZ called to say they were running a story about Jenner’s secret Adam’s-apple surgery, she considered killing herself— then realized that news of her suicide would be a big story for TMZ.