The Queen of Gay Street
Esther is what every queer woman might imagine herself being at some point in her life: a lesbian in New York. She relocates after a disastrous breakup with her girlfriend in San Francisco, moving across the country to make her life and herself anew.
And she does! The end! Drinks and kisses all around!
I’m kidding, of course. Things are always more complicated than that. Esther does get to a point where she is able to write a memoir of her first years in New York, though. Being able to tell your own story is almost always a sign of triumph.
Like so many who put their lives down in memoirs, Esther’s story is not always easy to read. She has trauma in her background from her parents, both of whom were unhealthy people in their own ways and only compounded the dysfunction when they were together with a child. After that was the disastrous girlfriend who turned out to be married through their whole relationship… to a man. Between those experiences, it would be hard for Esther to form lasting, healthy relationships in her new home, no matter how ready she is to recreate herself.
Esther doesn’t dance around any of her family issues but is upfront about what her childhood was like and how it has affected her. At times she circled around, moving out of order, but even if life happens step by step, it isn’t necessary for the retelling. What mattered more was her straightforward voice. She knows where she has come from, and she is willing to face it. That strength shines through the whole book.
The Queen of Gay Street isn’t just two hundred pages of her bemoaning her past traumas, nor even of her treating her childhood as ingredients for an exposé. It contains multitudes; at times, it is tender, at other times raunchy. (Those who are squeamish about the lesbian experience may find themselves shocked by this book. I found it delightful.) The strongest through-line of the book was humor. It had its laugh-out-loud funny moments, but more than anything, the book was dryly amusing. It’s comedic without being an outright comedy. If anything, I would call it good-humored, showing a learned optimism and an ability to smile despite adversity. Both are useful skills to have, especially when the world as a whole seems uncaring.
I enjoyed The Queen of Gay Street very much and would recommend it to the other queer women in my life, regardless of how close to New York they ever intend to go.
|Page Count||200 pages|
|Publisher||Idée Fixe Books|
|Bookshop.org||Buy this Book|
|Category||Relationships & Sex|