RaveLambda LiteraryThe memoir is at turns gorgeously lyric...at turns harrowing ... at turns the memoir, perhaps at its most effective, is elegiac ... This book is like a family, in fact, in the best sense; Ordinary Girls welcomes you in, scares you, heals you, then turns you out to the world.
RaveLamda Literary... if we’d forgotten, we’re immediately reminded of the attention Jones brings to every word of every sentence of every paragraph from the beginning of his debut memoir ... The generative failure of language–here instantly recognizable and yet gorgeously specific–brings us Jones the Poet transforming into Jones the Lyric Memoirist of Youth. What subsequently follows is no simple bildungsroman, but short, lyric chapters of growing up that move–dreamlike, sometimes nightmarish–back and forward and back and forward, circling in on themselves like the Buddhist chants we witness Jones and his mother performing throughout the book ... There is so much to love in How We Fight for Our Lives, I’ve struggled to narrow down this review, which could easily just be a love letter for this book I simply couldn’t stop reading. And though the prose is seemingly effortless, one of the things most effective (and affective) in Jones’ memoir is his refusal to hide the hard work a writer of his caliber must undertake in order to succeed ... a primer in how to keep kicking, in how to stay afloat. I am left challenged by it, but also rising to meet its challenge. It is one son’s letter to his mother, but also the world. Thank god we get to be part of that world with Saeed Jones’ writing in it. I pray this memoir isn’t his last.
RaveLambda LiteraryAltman takes on a classic queer mythology—that never-ending tie between parent and child—and turns the mythology into a lived, complicated work of lyrically-wrought prose with a quiet surprise on every page ... [a] gorgeous new memoir[.]
RaveLambda LiteraryIt is in...far past segments where Dameron’s prose truly shines, with the awe of a child realizing himself, and the impossibility of that self ... The Lie combines several tropes that might otherwise be cliché for the gay memoirist. It is, after all, a coming out story after years of family shame, tinged with addiction. On the surface, nothing new. But this isn’t your typical coming out story. It’s coming out much later in life, with children, with families to blend and houses to divide ... And above all, as Augusten Burroughs notes, The Lie is \'at once brutal and beautiful… layers of secrets and decades of deception in startling, vivid prose.\' It’s a poem of a book that refuses, thankfully, to resolve.
RaveLambda LiteraryIf there is a problem with Marcus’s careful, thoughtful, thorough study—and I am hard pressed to find one—it is a trap all of us trained in certain literary or cultural periods fall into: an over-reach of claims for one’s own specific period ... Marcus’s great achievement here is that she leads us on a journey of understanding celebrity and stardom with a richer history than we are often want to take. She carefully mines the archives of nineteenth scrapbooks and libraries, theater reviews and newsletters to help us understand that celebrity culture itself helps move a society forward ... The Drama of Celebrity offers an exhaustive analysis, typical of good cultural studies work, of Sarah Bernhardt’s relationship to the media, the public, and her own stardom. But more than that, Marcus offers us an intersectional understanding of celebrity itself, a wisdom we can use as we prepare for 2020 perhaps more than ever.
New York Public Library
RaveLambda LiteraryAs Jason Baumann explains in his introduction, Stonewall \'has become the stuff of queer legend and debate.\' The Stonewall Reader beautifully dives into that legend and debate, and its strength lies in its queer messiness ... His carefully curated volume also dispels the myth of white leadership surrounding the events at Stonewall, itself an important contribution ... Baumann accomplishes this by not only diversifying the contributors to the volume–which include figures like Marsha P. Johnson, Audre Lorde, and Sylvia Rivera alongside Samuel Delaney and Mark Segal–but also by deploying a useful teleological organization to the essays, accounts, and interviews ... The book wonderfully reflects how revolutionary moments rarely get portrayed accurately through single voices, and Baumann has produced here a history worth revisiting again and again.
PositiveLambda Literary\"In imagining a new family–one that didn’t have a past with her pre-coming out self–Allen writes beautifully of her chosen family ... [Allen] is smart-as-hell, but inclusive and impassioned ... So many wonderful books get written for the NYC and San Francisco LGBTQ community. I’m glad Samantha Allen wrote Real Queer America: LGBT Stories from Red States for the rest of us.\
RaveLambda LiteraryI Can’t Date Jesus presents us with the opportunity to have a sustained conversation with Arceneaux the thoroughly modern Renaissance man ... In an age of PrEP and Adam Rippon and Glee, Arceneaux’s is a refreshing voice of honest worry mixed with irreverent humor. All with a heavy dose of Beyoncé ... Like his patron saint Beyoncé with Lemonade, Arceneaux has created an enlightening urtext we haven’t seen before, essays in the queer lineage of James Baldwin and Eudora Welty, but soundtracked to a solid playlist of late ‘90s and early 2000’s R&B ... [an] impeccable debut.