Vignette after vignette captures Flannery’s discovery of sexuality and how it transforms the way she thinks about herself, Anne, and the world. The women’s relationship continues after they return to campus and it’s all encompassing. Brownrigg charts Flannery’s experience in all its beautiful and confusing stages, while carefully using the additional layer of conflict in the women’s age difference.
When the two take a trip to Florida, different tensions surface, including Anne’s recent job offer in New Mexico. The trip hints at trouble to come, but also shows that Flannery is not the same innocent, young kid she was at the beginning of this journey.
Pages for You is a compelling, nostalgic and thorough portrait of first love.
Map by Audrey Beth Stein (www.Audreybethstein.com)
Map, Audrey Beth Stein’s memoir and a 2009 Lambda Literary Award Finalist, is one of the more honest and humorous reflections on coming out and on bisexuality that I’ve read in a while. The book opens with a simple premise: "I want a girlfriend." But that’s where the simplicity ends.
As a college student, Stein was engaged in the school newspaper, surrounded by an accepting and diverse group of friends, and embraced by a loving family. But as she thoughtfully examines in Map, her journey toward understanding her bisexuality was less about pressure from the outside world and more about the questions that existed within her own mind and heart.
Stein is clear that she is attracted to both men and women, but this fact does not bring her comfort. Rather, she believes, it destines her to spend her life alone. When a friend asks her whom she thinks or imagines she’ll be with in the future, Stein draws a blank. She cannot picture the future and it’s this uncertainty that causes her so much angst.
When Stein begins an online correspondence with Catrina, a woman who lives across the country, she believes this is finally the answer she’s been searching for. The two women tell each other that they love each other. Stein defends the relationship to her skeptical friends. She comes out to her parents.
But Catrina isn’t all that Stein hoped for and imagined. It is only after this revelation and she is able to step out into the "real" world that Stein begins to find some actual clarity and answers—and, finally, to get that long sought after girlfriend.
Map is a sweet and smart book.