Annie On My Mind

Author: Nancy Garden

Published: July 1982

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Where I picked up my book: Local Bookstore

Key Words:  LGBTQ+, YA Lit, Romance

My Rating: 5 stars

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Synopsis (via Goodreads):

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.

Of the author and the book, the Margaret A. Edwards Award committee said, “Using a fluid, readable style, Garden opens a window through which readers can find courage to be true to themselves.

My Thoughts:

First, I have to say that I’m stunned it took me until almost 40 years old to read this book. As a lesbian, it feels like one of those books we talk about in our circles, we all say we need to read, we all rave about and one that all of our elder lesbians give us for birthdays and holidays and we see it on the ‘top LGBTQ+ book lists’-but somehow, as a lifelong reader, I never picked it up. WHAT?! I knew I needed to remedy this before someone came and took my lesbian card away (completely kidding here. Don’t @ me), so I purchased it back in June- for one of my Pride month purchases. Well…it is now February, but I finally picked it up and oh my gosh, I’m so glad I did. It is relevant (although thankfully, not as relevant as it was in the 80’s), it is magical, it is honest and so sincere, and it is spot on to what a lot of us went through as we were discovering our sexuality. I just keep telling everyone, it’s the book I wish I had read as a teen. It would have saved me from a lot of confusion, sadness, hurt and questions about whether I was “normal” and it would have allowed me to see myself in a piece of fiction. It might not seem like a big deal to a lot of people, but never seeing myself represented in movies, books, television, or if I’m perfectly honest, in real-life situations either, this book would have changed my world. I’m sure it did for many young lesbians and the thought just makes me cry happy tears.

I’m so thankful that more books with LGBTQ+ representation exists now, but this book should still remain right up there with these newer ones. It’s been one of the top banned books and still remains banned in many places today. So make sure you check with your local libraries to see if they have this one (and check it out so it stays on the shelves). Talk to your local schools and bookstores and make sure it is still a book available in your community. It’s a perfectly relatable book for lesbians and I’ll forever be grateful to Nancy Garden for providing the world with this gift, even if it took me a hot second to finally pick it up 🙂

bookishfolk…read instead.

Banned Book Week Wrap-Up

I’ve always been a huge advocate of reading banned books. As a kid, even before I knew the why, I remember frantically trying to get a hold of any and all books that were deemed banned. There was something in my little head that told me-if people don’t want me to read this book, that just means it’s probably of upmost importance that I read this book as soon as humanly possible. I’ve always been a truth seeker, a learner, an advocate of marginalized people, and ultimately, a firm believer that the best conversations happen within the fray. Freedom of information is one of the most important tenants of any society and without that freedom, what do we have? (start with reading 1984 by George Orwell if this interests you!) Well…we have a dictatorship is what we have. Wow-that’s a terrifying, but ultimately true, thought. So I thought I’d create a list of just a few of my favorite books that have been banned throughout the years. If you haven’t read some of these, I hope you grab a few of these or any from here and get to work! I promise, you’re going to love what they have to offer!

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

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Beloved by Toni Morrison

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The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

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Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

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Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

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The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

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The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood

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Happy Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

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Maybe you’ve read a lot of these…and if so, that’s fantastic! Head over to the banned book page that the ALA created and find some other good ones to read! If not, I hope you enjoy this little Banned Books starter kit 🙂

bookishfolk…read instead.