Book Review: Annie on My Mind

There was this one thesis topic from the fourth year literature majors on my school that really got me thinking how hard it should be to be a lesbian. Sure enough we have seen, and sadly though is still seeing, the physical afflictions commonly given to gays. However, never have we considered how aggravating it should be to have none of those simply because the society wouldn't give any shit about doing so because they still see lesbians as someone weak and incapable of everything, so what they do is to punch them little by little with intellectual and emotional holes that are even worse than the physical pains (as wounds heal but never a damaged morale). So what does that make the lesbians then? A physically spared but nevertheless morally damaged nuisances.

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. This book is so truthful and honest, it has been banned from many school libraries and even publicly burned in Kansas City.

Of the author and the book, the Margaret A. Edwards Award committee said, “Nancy Garden has the distinction of being the first author for young adults to create a lesbian love story with a positive ending. Using a fluid, readable style, Garden opens a window through which readers can find courage to be true to themselves.” - Goodreads

I can still remember this one joke I have gone through about how unjust it is that girls can kiss and hold hands with each others and be seen as casual friends while guys will be automatically labeled as (homo-, bi-, metro-, insert othe prefix here) sexual at the slightest brush of their fingers. At first I took this thing as a blessing, until I realized how hard it should have been for lesbians to reveal to the world that their gestures such as kissing and holding hands with each other are not supposed to be seen as anything shallow or friendly, but something out of great passion and love, and Annie on My Mind verified and reiterated such tragic case with every passion possible.

Liza and Annie both know that they love each other, in fact, it is the only thing they are very much sure of right at the very beginning of the story and until the end, as we should see along the story that they would even question themselves if they really were gays. Just to make things clear, it is not a lesbian's guide to life, it is more of a life's guide in the lesbian world. It doesn't teach how to be a lesbian nor do it encourages anyone to be one, in fact, if you are thinking of coming out of the closet, Annie on My Mind is a good precautionary book about the world's grave threats towards your chosen sexuality.

Aside from showing the lesbian world, Annie on My Mind also gives us a good lens over women's different colors. We will see an older lesbian couple, an old lady with such a grat passion towards her career, a straight girl who is in the process of coming of age, a loving mother and other great faces any woman had been at least once in their lives, is now being, and will become.

In the book, the fact still remains that for queer people, they only have each other as they refuge. Just how men would have this confusion how a man would rather prefer being a woman (which often leads to their unacceptable behaviors), women also have this idea that if a woman is moving out of what is supposed to be done by her (which is to marry a man and have kids with him) she is nonetheless going lunatic. I have to admit that I've been a victim of such ignorance, and I guess it is really up to you on how you'll take it: either an impediment from getting what you really want or a challenge that will exacerbate your drive of moving out of that ignorant circle. Thank heavens I chose the latter.

The best thing about Annie on My Mind, in spite of all the wonderful stuff I have already raised, is the fact that Liza and Annie's love story didn't end. There are a lot of stuff left unsolved until the ending, and one of them is if Liza and Annie are really lesbians or just confused teenagers. But then again, that's reality. Homosexual relationships will never have any assurance at pretty much anything. Perhaps tonight they will have the best sex of their lives and think about staying that way forever, but as they wake up, they will realize that it is all for the pleasure- and they will go around their normal straight lives.

Sure enough everyone has been in love or will be, the problem, however, is staying in love; if we will stay on what is given and be happy about it or be happy and stay on what will be given eventually. Either way, it will always be a personal choice, and we are all created with rational souls to be rational beings- if you choose to be irrational beings for the sake of conformity then you really do have a big problem.

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