Goodreads Synopsis: Woman or man? This internationally acclaimed novel looks at the world through the eyes of Jess Goldberg, a masculine girl growing up in the “Ozzie and Harriet” McCarthy era and coming out as a young butch lesbian in the pre-Stonewall gay drag bars of a blue-collar town. Stone Butch Blues traces a propulsive journey, powerfully evoking history and politics while portraying an extraordinary protagonist full of longing, vulnerability, and working-class grit. This once-underground classic takes the reader on a roller-coaster ride of gender transformation and exploration and ultimately speaks to the heart of anyone who has ever suffered or gloried in being different.
I read this book at the recommendation of a friend, and I am so glad that I decided to take her up on it. Trigger warning, this book deals with rape and abuse a lot.
Stone Butch Blues is probably one of the best books I’ve read all year. I’ve been trying to write this review all week, but it’s been really hard because I’m not sure how to sum it all up. This book really brought home to me how much the queer community has been through. I haven’t really known a lot about our history, though I’m trying to read more about it, and this book was very educational in that subject.
Stone Butch Blues will break your heart, just a fair warning. The amount of hardship that Jess goes through is just astounding. But anyone struggling with gender will find a kindred spirit in this character. Jess is strong, they are so powerful and kind even as they go through struggle after struggle. I found myself crying throughout the entire read.
I love Feinberg’s words at the end of this book: “I’m so sorry it’s had to be this hard. But if I hadn’t walked this path, who would I be? At the moment I felt at the center of my own life, the dream still braided like sweetgrass in my memory. I remembered Duffy’s challenge. Imagine a world worth living in, a world worth fighting for. I closed my eyes and allowed my hopes to soar.”
I think those words sum up the entire book so well, and I love that even from all the hardship Jess went through, they still had hope. Even if you’re not apart of the LGBTQA+ community I highly suggest reading this book. There’s so much of queer history that isn’t talked about, that we don’t know because of how LGBTQA+ issues are just ignored. This book will show what it was like to not be straight in the 50’s.
When I look at the world today it’s easy to get discouraged. But Stone Butch Blues gave me hope. The queer community has come a long way, we’ve survived a lot. And we will continue to survive. Someday we’ll make the world a better place, where no one has to fear coming out, or being different, or loving who they love.
I gave this book 5 stars on Goodreads.