Another Day, Another Blog

April 30, 2007

Weekend reading

Filed under: books — iamza @ 10:16 am

Behind the Pine Curtain, by Gerri Hill:

When Jacqueline was eighteen, her parents found out she was gay. Jacqueline’s mother gave her a hundred dollars for a bus ticket, and told her to come back home only when she was prepared to do her family duty and get married. Fast forward ten or fifteen years, and Jacqueline is now a successful author living in California when she receives word of her father’s death. Reluctantly, Jacqueline finds herself heading back to her childhood town of Pine Springs, to face the friends and family she was forced to leave behind.

This is a lesbian romance: if you find repulsive the idea of two women getting intimate, then this probably isn’t the novel for you. It is, at heart, a story about rediscovering childhood love, and learning that sometimes what you’re most afraid of may end up giving you the greatest joy.

Sometimes, when reading novels, I find myself wishing I was as smart and as wise and as strong as the characters therein. And sometimes, they really bring home to me moments of past failures. Reading this novel reminded me of one of the moments in high school of which I am most ashamed. See, a rumour went around school that one of my friends, R, might be gay. I wish I could say I dealt with the news as well as Kay does when learning of Jacqueline’s sexuality, but the truth is, I freaked out, and pulled away at a time when R most needed someone to stand by her.

To this day, I don’t know if the rumour was true or not — it doesn’t matter. The fact is I walked away from a friendship not because of anything R had done, but because I was afraid of what everybody else would think of me if I stuck by her. If life were like Hollywood, I would have come to my senses just before the final credits rolled, and R and I would have been reunited in a storm of tears and repentance and forgiveness, and the sun would have come out shining more brightly than ever before as the speakers blared a happy rock song.

But life isn’t a Hollywood movie. And sometimes, shame and regret is all the closure you get.

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