Author: Nancy Garden Series: Standalone Genre: Fiction Release Date: July 1, 1982 Book Length: 234 pages Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux Review: 4/5
When Liza Winthrop first lays eyes on Annie Kenyon at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, she knows there’s something special between them. Soon, their close friendship develops into a deep and intimate romance. Neither imagined that falling in love could be so wonderful, but as Liza and Annie’s newfound sexuality sparks conflict in both their families and at their schools, they discover it will take more than love for their relationship to succeed.
One of the first books to positively portray a lesbian relationship, Annie on My Mind is a groundbreaking classic of the genre. The subject of a First Amendment lawsuit over banned books and one of School Library Journal’s “One Hundred Books that Shaped the Century,” Nancy Garden’s iconic novel is an important story for anyone discovering who they’re meant to be.
“What struck me most, though, was that, in that whole long article, the word ‘love’ wasn’t used even once. That made me mad; it was as if whoever wrote the article didn’t know that gay people actually love each other. The encyclopedia writers ought to talk to me, I thought as I went back to bed; I could tell them something about love.”
Happy Pride Month! I am going to try to read more LGBTQIA+ books, not only this month, but in this lifetime, and Annie on My Mind is where that promise to myself begins. I thought this was beautiful. The relationship between Liza and Annie felt really organic and honest, and I enjoyed the journey that it took me on as their relationship blossomed.
This book is about being true to yourself in a world where other people think they know what’s right for you, and even though other people tried to make her feel confused and guilty, I loved that Liza stayed firm and was true to herself and to her love for Annie.
I think this book is definitely suited for young readers, and especially those who are beginning to explore their sexuality. The homophobia in the book broke my heart, but the girls did have reliable, supportive allies to turn to, which I felt was important, because at the time it was written in 1982, I think the author was trying to show people that they could find support somewhere; if not in their real lives, then surely within this book.
The world has definitely changed since this was written, but we still have work to do, and my hope is that one day the ideals in here will be completely outdated and people everywhere can live without fear or judgement and just love whoever it is they want to love in peace.
If anyone has any LGBTQIA+ book recommendations, please let me know!