Friday, October 1, 2010

A Love Letter To A Banned Book: "Annie On My Mind," by Nancy Garden

Dear Liza,

I just finished listening to the audio book of your story.

And I fell in love with you falling in love.

With your meeting Annie at the Met. With your play-acting sword-fights. With your blossoming from friendship to infatuation to love to passion.

With your fighting so hard to keep that love, when everything seemed to turn against the two of you.

With your struggle to figure things out. Write it all down. Make sense of the past... And your heart. And your future.

And then, oh, Liza, your happy ending!

Your story gave me chills. It made me teary-eyed. I was you, Liza. And Annie. And Ms. Stevenson, and Ms. Widmer. I was all of you, and somehow, through the magic of your author's art, you were all me. ...And I'm not even a girl!

I know they tried to ban your story. They burned copies. But your story lives on. (I listened to the audio of the 25th anniversary edition, and loved the interview with your author, Nancy Garden, and K.T. Horning at the end!)

Liza, reading your story made me so, so happy. I know that despite the book banners, "Annie On My Mind" will be read, and loved, and continue to change lives for generations to come.

Please say thank you to your author Nancy, for giving us you, and Annie, and a love story that gave me (and so many others) hope.

You were the very first teen novel with a main GLBTQ character with an absolute happy ending.

And you changed the world.



ps- Annie on my Mind is beautifully reviewed by Roger Sutton at The Horn Book, and also by readers here at the I'm Here. I'm Queer. What the Hell do I Read? listing. You can find out more about the efforts to ban this book - and how the book and author triumphed at Nancy Garden's website.


Brent Taylor said...

I love this, Lee!

Sarah said...

Yes, yes, yes. I loved this book as a teenager, and still do today...I have yet to find anything quite as wonderful.

ivanova said...

What a beautiful letter!

Steph said...

I actually didn't even like that book. As far as happy endings go, it was kind of sucky. Yes, I know I need to keep in mind the time period it was written in. I don't like that book, but I respect it wholeheartedly. And hey, it's a sign of the times that I don't have to like every gay book out there because there are a lot more to choose from.

Lee Wind, M.Ed. said...

Thanks Brent, Sarah and Ivanova, for your kind words.

Steph, I hear you, and agree that it's great that there is some CHOICE now. There are 69 books with a main teen lesbian character listed on this blog!

It's also the reason I didn't make this blog "the GLBTQ books Lee liked." I really want to let readers share their reviews, because books are so subjective. Having said that, I'm delighted to let everyone know about all the teen books that are out there with significant GLBTQ content!

Keep reading!

Lisa Jenn Bigelow said...

Love it. I didn't get to read this book until I was 17. I realize this isn't so bad in the grand scheme of things, but still I wish I'd been 12. I'm so, so glad there are more books out there -- books with happy endings, too -- for youth today.

(I also hope I have it in me to write a book with a purely happy ending someday. Why do I torture my characters so?)

Lee Wind, M.Ed. said...

Lisa Jenn, I hear you about torturing our characters - but isn't that what makes a great book? An exciting story? I guess I just want them to come out from all the drama all right - with at least a hopeful ending. Though, I have to admit, I am a sucker for a happy ending.

Cynthia Leitich Smith said...

Thought you might enjoy my interview today with Nancy: Writing Across Formats: Nancy Garden

Lee Wind, M.Ed. said...

Thanks, Cynthia. I DID like your interview with Nancy - especially how she shared how her work as an actor and director helps her with her writing! I've long felt that all my time as a TV editor has made me a much better storyteller, and a better writer!