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Readings and Ramblings

This is Readings and Ramblings. It is readings because this is a site for blogging about books and I intend to do that. It is ramblings because I might want to write about something else now and then.

Odd Girl Out - Ann Bannon As a heterosexual male who has personally known any number of gay people and who was especially close to one lesbian couple and as a long time supporter of the gay liberation movement I have an interest in gay culture. This book was touted as an early lesbian novel in the synopsis and in the introduction the author spent some time discussing how avant guard and unusual it was when it was published in the 1950s. All of this is what led me to read it. I read it with considerable interest but with a little disappointment. In the 1950s it may have been a real radical kind of writing that pushed the envelope and dared the censors, but either times have changed a lot -- and I think that is largely the case -- or I am jaded. It all seemed rather tame to me. Do not expect much in the way of explicit sex scenes like you commonly find in most any novel today, for example. Furthermore, I am not a big fan of the romance genre and this is certainly a romance novel. It's just that the two main protagonists are women. Then, even though the beginnings of the relationship is described as intense and emotionally beautiful I eventually started to think the author disapproved of lesbianism and was moralizing. In fact, lesbianism is described as emotional immaturity and it is suggested that when a woman gets over her adolescent and childish propensities she will turn to men. Given the circumstances in which this is brought up it could easily be dismissed as a passing anxiety in the midst of emotional turmoil, but the concept hangs over the rest of the story once it is brought up all the way to the end. In fact, the lesbian relationship that the story focuses on is finally ended because one of the couple "grows up" and falls for a man. Given the circumstances of having to keep their relationship completely secret and given the attendent social pressures to, at least, appear heterosexual and date men it might have fallen apart anyway, but it is not that which causes the relationship's end. It is as if the moral of the story is that lesbianism is wrong and that those who practice it must grow up and grow out of it or be unhappy for a lifetime.