Category Archives: Gay/Lesbian

Cry of an Osprey by Angie Vancise

Reviewed by Timea Barabas

Cry of an Osprey by Angie Vancise is, in short, an emotional roller-coaster. Although the main topic seems to be an alternative love story, this is only the backdrop for a bigger picture to which each reader can relate to a certain degree. It is a story about family ties, solidarity and losing a loved one.

At the center of the story stands Jax Vanbeerman who only at the age of 48 suffers a stroke. This is the trigger that unites a dispersed family, a current and a former lover and many more people to share a couple of agonizing days in close quarters. At which point there is a temporal bifurcation, on one hand we are in the present next to Jax in the hospital together with the loved ones, but also in the past, reliving memories of the good old days. It is in this process of remembrance that regret creeps in as characters wonder about alternate decisions and actions, about what could have been. In fact, as Jax fades away from the living, he grows ever stronger in the hearts and memories of the people who loved him. Perhaps this is the most important lesson of the book.

Bully by Emme Dun

Bully

Reviewed by Timea Barabas

Bully is the debut novel of Emme Dun with which she made quite an entrance. This gay/lesbian, legal thriller based on true events will reveal to you the more dismal tones of the American justice system.

Although this book is about the legal system, the LGBT community and its struggles… although this book is about many things, the central theme is the sacred bond between a child and mother. Emme Dun presents two mirrored stories of custody lawsuits born out of revenge. Wendy White and Jennifer Dolan’s children are at risk of being taken away from them by spiteful ex-partners. This is the only string that ties together these completely different people living in their separate worlds. Wendy White is a lesbian veterinarian who gave up on the idea of ever finding true love again and settled (out of comfort) for only a breeze of romance. She gave birth with the help of artificial insemination to her Abigail, whom she swore to protect as soon as she held the baby in her arms. But soon she will discover that this promise will be harder to keep than she could have ever imagined. On the other hand, Jennifer serves to present the same issue set in a heterosexual relationship. However both families can be characterized as unconventional. Also, in both cases a battle is issued among the biological and “heart” parent. If you are curious about what exactly is a “heart parent”, Patricia Brown, one of the characters, can shed some light: it is “the other parent—not the biological parent, but the one who has been there all along nurturing and supporting the child”.

Torn by Amber Lehman (Review #2)

tornReviewed by Chris Phillips

Lehman has written a very good coming-of-age book. She confronts issues both common to teenagers and uncommon. As the publicity said, Gay and Lesbian issues are core to the plot and handled openly and honestly throughout.

Krista is the main character. The story begins with her moving to Southern California from Ohio, going from a parochial school to a public one and her mother going on a mission trip all at the same time. Even though she has no friends when the book begins, she quickly finds some in Carrie, Ryan and Brandon. The tale continues through her sophomore year and the situations she through the school year.

From these four and a few others the plot and character develop, particularly Krista, thoroughly, believably, and consistently. There are concrete and common problems of teen years, but also coping with gender and orientation issues. There is sexually active and gay, Brandon, who is the bright and beautiful Southern California prep. Ryan is the boyfriend that seems perpetually frustrated and inept. Carrie is the best friend and also becomes a love interest for Krista.

The plot mechanism is Krista adjusting and settling into the new school and the new neighborhood. Her brothers are older and involved in their own lives but keep up with what she is doing. There are other friends and people that show up in the plot. There is sufficient variety to give a good balance and yet keep the plot moving.