Monday, 26 November 2012

I Am a Woman by Ann Bannon

This is another of the novels that was on my reading list over summer, unfortunately I read nothing but Stephen King and young adult novels (it’s great getting to read what you want). So I was sat on the train back to University wondering how on earth I was going to read 232 pages in in less than 3 hours. However, to my surprise the reading list this year has become more and more enjoyable! I finished the novel in less than the 3 hours and ordered the other two books in the series on amazon!


‘I am a Woman’ is a lesbian pulp fiction novel written in 1959. It is the second in a series known as ‘The Beebo Brinker Chronicles’. The story begins with the main character, Laura Landon- a year after she has left college. She is living with her unkind and harsh judging father as he perceives that she dropped out of college because she was failing. Unable to put up with her father any longer, Laura packs and leaves her home in the middle of the night and goes to New York.

She soon finds a job as a secretary and lands herself an apartment with a roommate- Marcie. Marcie is young, beautiful and impulsive and Laura moves into the Greenwich Village apartment looking forward to getting to know her new roommate.

Marcie constantly fights with her ex-husband Burr, who is often at the girl’s apartment. Laura begins to intensely hate Burr after the numerous fights she over hears- and recognises she is jealous of Burr because of her own attraction to Marcie. However, Burr introduces one of the most important people to Laura- Jack Mann. Jack and Burr take the girls on a double date, where Jack takes them to a gay bar. Jack is clearly an alcoholic and often gets drunk, but he is a good natured man whom Laura finds to become the closest friend she has in New York.

Will Laura hide her feelings from Marcie forever? Will Laura realise who she really is? Running away from home was never going to be the hardest decision; Laura is left more confused than ever in New York City.

Rating 5*- I was unable to put this book down, luckily for me I had a deadline to read it for, however this book totally passed my expectations. Ann Bannon was a revolutionary writer and ‘I am a Woman’ is innovative and riveting, displaying what life was like in New York around this time. In the 50’s and 60’s many pulp fiction novels did pop up and with this so did the interest in Greenwich Village in New York. The novel inspired many young men and women to travel to the coast and experience what life could be life for them. The American government being a right wing party endeavoured that many people were socially withdrawn and unaccepted in their own society- but these books helped bring to light the entire community of gay and lesbian individuals on the West Coast.

Not only is the historical value of this novel interesting, but the characters themselves are likable and entertaining. The novel is fast paced and is impossible to put down- I was determined to see what happened to Laura and the plot twists are totally unexpected. This novel is uncharacteristic of all the expectations I held of it- although its front cover should have given it away! Well worth each of the five *’s I give it, in this review.

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