Mixtapes for Hookers


August 23, 2011, 2:21 pm
Filed under: books | Tags: , ,

After approximately three months I finally finished reading Wildthorn, Jane Eagland’s recent teen novel about lesbianism and mental asylums in Victorian England.  It won the Lambda Literary Award for Best LGBT Young Adult Novel this past spring, and it’s occasionally rather exciting, even though I only managed to read about four pages a day.

The inquisitive Louisa Cosgrove, who cares about medicine more than marriage, finds herself imprisoned in Wildthorn, the wicked asylum where everyone insists that her name is really Lucy Childs.  Cosgrove’s dear father had pushed her to read a lot, perform experiments and care for the sick.  The rest of her family felt otherwise, although it takes Louisa quite a while to learn how she ended up in the asylum.  (The book’s Lambda award gives you a hint, though thankfully the plot’s slightly more involved than that.)

I picked Wildthorn up on a whim after my birthday, when I was getting ready to speak on a panel about libraries as safe spaces for queer youth, but I managed to lose the book twice, started reading three other books in the meantime, and didn’t get around to finishing it until just now.  For a long time I was a big advocate for teen novels as summer reading material, and while summer’s drawing to a close pretty quickly you might want to check this one out.  It’s pretty smart and kind of entertaining; the ending also helps.


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