Read Women, Reviews

Annie On My Mind

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Annie on My Mind

by Nancy Garden

This groundbreaking book is the story of two teenage girls whose friendship blossoms into love and who, despite pressures from family and school that threaten their relationship, promise to be true to each other and their feelings. The book has been banned from many school libraries and publicly burned in Kansas City.

Annie On My Mind is THE gay book. And I was lucky enough to get a chance to read and review it for an upcoming re-release. So with banned book week here, I sat down and read through this book finally.

We follow Liza and Annie in the year that they fell in love while Liza is looking back on the whole experience. It starts out sweet and wonderful, but trouble strikes when the two are caught together at Liza’s teachers’ house. Liza in turn is nearly expelled for simply being gay in the 1980’s. Luckily, she wasn’t, but the two teachers who are also gay lose their jobs at the school for the same issue.

All of which is still a nightmare for me, a gay genderfluid person. I grew up in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. I witnessed a lot of homophobic behavior while it was still considered a mental illness. I grew up knowing it was ‘wrong’. Things have changed greatly, but with the current political climate, I fear that still that I could not be allowed to work in my dream job, a library, simply for being gay. It’s less likely now and I’m thankful for that every day, but this book simply reminded me of these old fears.

The story itself is sweet, though possibly a bit naive considering when this book takes place and where. Two girls falling deeply in love with each other and deciding that they rather not live in a make-believe world like they originally did, which seems a bit odd for actual college seniors to actually do. A lot of things like this haven’t aged too well with this book. It is a good book with a good message, but teens today are a lot different then they were and a lot would find that them living in their pretend worlds off.

There’s a lot that isn’t explained in this book that really should have been. Both Liza and Annie live in New York City during a time when Gay rights was huge, a long with the AIDs epidemic, neither of which are mentioned or even remotely acknowledged as being a thing. I realize that it’s possibly because during that time period the author might not have been part of it, but living in New York, you would think they would both know being gay is a thing and that the hysterical nature of the homophobia they face is partly due to the AIDs epidemic, not just the supposed ‘wrongness’.

Nowhere in the book does it mention the year, which leaves you think the author meant for it to be one of those books that are simply universal. Sadly, it doesn’t hold up that way anymore. For starters, payphones are no longer a thing, which get featured heavily in the book. Students would no longer nearly be expelled from school for being caught half naked with another girl outside of school, though even in this book its mentioned how wrong that it was in the first place Liza was going through it. I’ve had plenty of openingly gay teachers who haven’t lost their jobs for being gay, thankfully. My suggestion to fix the confusion would to be to add a forward to explain these things or somewhere just stick a date for readers to better understand that this takes place in our not so pleasant past.

The book might not have aged well, but the story is itself is still important. Everyone should understand how far we’ve come to be able to just marry our partners compared to nearly having your school career ruined for being gay. I think the story itself is good and sweet. Teens and everyone should be able to see what a healthy gay relationship looks like, even if its no always perfect.

I recommend this book to anyone who wants to just read a good LGBTQA book that’s sweet and helps us better understand our past as well.

Rating: 3 stars 

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Seven Deadly Sins Tag

I stole this from fellow book blogger Weezie (go follow them, they are the best). Its my first tag but I kinda really love this idea and had to take part.

1. Greed. What’s your most inexpensive book? Your most expensive?

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I’ve been lucky in the past because I’ve gotten a lot of used books and free books. So I can’t really pinpoint the cheapest. Though I do know the most expensive was Hamilton: The Revolution when it first came out. I have zero impulse control anyways, hunting this book was an obsession for over a month for like $45. AND I still haven’t finished it. So there’s that.

2. Wrath. What author do you have a love/hate relationship with.

There’s probably a lot of these. But right now there’s an author I really loved and respected who recently tweeted a link to a horrible article that named a friend of mine who went through a lot of grief over and acted super childish about when we tried to explain what was going on. I basically lost a lot of respect for them then. I STILL have the review for their last book in my drafts because I don’t even want to show them support right now when marginalized teens were being attacked. I don’t think that’s ever right, even if you don’t agree with them.

3. Gluttony. What book have you devoured over and over again with no shame?

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Everyone has that book. Other than Harry Potter, this book was my most read book. I actually couldn’t reread it for awhile because it’s being held together by old tape. I was lucky enough that someone saw my owe over that fact and bought me a new copy. There will always be an ongoing tie for my favourite book between Harry Potter and Inkheart.

4. Sloth. What book have you neglected due to laziness?

Okay, I do this A LOT. But I already listed it, being Hamilton. The reason is I spent so much on it that I only read it when I’m in my room and with no food or drinks around it. It’s my go to when I need inspiration to finish papers for college. And part of me doesn’t want to lose that inspiration if I finish it too soon. Plus, I need to be in the mood to read stuff like that. And that doesn’t happen often.

5. Pride. What book do you talk about a lot in order to sound like an intellectual reader.

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I haven’t read many classics, I’ll admit it. I struggled with reading most of my life so teachers stayed away from classics. But I’ve been trying to get better at it and read a few a year. But I admit I do this with 1984. Or I did for a while. I haven’t found my next one yet. So just wait until that happens.

6. Lust. What attributes do you find attractive in female characters? (Like Weezie I’m changing to female bc Men are gross. Sorry dudes)

I’m no joke a Hufflepuff who falls for Slytherins way too much. There’s something about women that can take you down and knows it and will use it against you that gets me. Give me Inej’s from Six of Crows.

7. Envy. What book would you most like to receive as a gift right now?

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I might be one of the few book bloggers who didn’t get early access to these beautiful books and it’s kinda killing me. I need diverse queer books so bad and these are the top of my list. I’d honestly be willing to give someone a bunch of my other books for them. Instead I gotta wait like everyone else for them to come out. Which is making the impulsiveness of my ADHD crazy.