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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » Stone Butch Blues: A Novel [Paperback] » User review

a book to be read with eyes wide open

  • Jul 11, 2010

Stone Butch Blues is not a book for the fainthearted. It is raw and powerful and violent and disturbing, and above all incredibly important.
The book chronicles the hardships and incredibly horrific situations faced by a "butch" in the pre-Stonewall era. As one of very few novels tackling transgender issues in this way, it becomes even more important. Jess Goldberg, the protagonist, is unable to "pass" as either male or female in the very traditional culture of the small community where she has grown up. As Jess grows up, the conflicts that present themselves are only more frequent, and as Jess begins to discover herself and embrace herself for who she is on the inside, the outside world only becomes more difficult.

This is NOT a book for young children, but is very important for anyone interested in political movements, queer studies, or the crossroads and borderlands that are faced by so many people everyday.

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Sarah ()
Ranked #971
I'm a writer turned geologist who just finished grad school. I love memoirs and contemporary fiction, vegan cooking & baking, animals, and running.
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This compelling but uneven first novel follows the sexual travails of lesbian Jess Goldberg. At its start she is a girl who feels confused by strict ideas about gender and who wonders if she might be a "he-she" since people often ask whether she is a boy or a girl. Constantly searching, she quickly moves from trying on her father's suits to visiting bars and transforming herself into a full-blown "butch," complete with her own dildo. As police crackdowns on gay bars result in more than one night in jail, Goldberg decides to begin taking male hormones and have a breast reduction in order to pass as a man. Although she delights in visiting the barber and being able to use the men's room--and even manages to make love to a woman without being discovered--the emotional complications of changing her sex (and hence her identity) build up until she ceases to take her hormone shots. Certain transmutations, like her lowered voice, cannot be reversed, however, so she is now even less defined as a member of a specific gender. Goldberg and her like-minded friends who have embraced the butch/femme dichotomy find they have no place in either the nascent women's or gay pride movements. Feinberg attempts to present Goldberg's life as the personal side of political history, but the narrative seems unattached to time despite the insertion of landmark events like the Stonewall riot and the mention of Reagan and the Moral Majority.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.--This text refers ...
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ISBN-10: 1555838537
ISBN-13: 978-1555838539
Author: Leslie Feinberg
Genre: Gay & Lesbian
Publisher: Alyson Books
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