For Nights Like This One: Stories of Loving Women by Becky Birtha

It only seems natural that my first book review be of an extremely worn copy of an out of print book, recommended to me years ago in a Gay and Lesbian Literature class.  It’s written by poet and children’s literature author, Becky Birtha and is named, For Nights Like This One: Stories of Loving Women.  You can still purchase it used via Amazon.

Becky Birtha has written a collection of thirteen short stories about lesbian relationships, all of which deals with themes of domesticity, love and family.  Birtha tackles a plethora of issues including interracial lesbian relationships (whether successful or otherwise), childrearing, and lesbian mothers and negative societal viewpoints that accompany lesbian or gay parenthood.  In one story, Birtha’s characters are in love and have been together for nearly a decade and one woman wants a child, while the other believes that having children supports the patriarchal society in which they live.  Presenting two very convincing sides of the story, I struggled along with her characters, relating to the maternal need that many women have, and also the desire to keep the relationship to only two people, relating to the not-so-maternal urge, that many women also feel.  No matter what the topic, Birtha relates her stories in a non-stereotypical manner, thereby humanizing her characters.  Birtha explores all sides of the cube: supporting monogamy, coming out (more importantly, being accepting of yourself) to your family and friends, and the benefits and/or problems of maintaining relationships with your ex.  All of these lend themselves to the universal nature of the trials and tribulations of the nature of romantic relationships, whether heterosexual, homosexual or fluidly somewhere in between.  The tone of Birtha’s stories are compassionate, down to earth, reaffirming and touching.  Her stories are a perfect fit for anyone in a relationship, romantic or otherwise, or anyone who would needs a reminder of that the intricacies, drama, highs, annoyances, and sometimes just plain crap of many romantic relationships are similar, regardless of sexual orientation.

Feminist?  I think we’re moving in the right direction.

Book stats

Author: Birtha, Becky

Published: 1983

Similar recommendations:

Fiction:

1.  Does Your Mama Know: An Anthology of Black Lesbian Coming Out Stories edited by Lisa C. Moore (African American Lesbians; women’s fiction, short stories; lesbian literature; coming-out)

2.  Trash: Stories by Dorothy Alison (lesbian relationships; short stories; lesbian fiction; class issues; interracial issues; struggle; perseverance)

3.  Grl2grl: Short Fictions by Julie Anne Peters (short stories; coming-out; lesbian relationships; romance; love; infatuation; lesbian fiction)

Nonfiction:

1.  How it Feels to Have a Gay or Lesbian Parent: A Book by Kid for Kid of all Ages by Judith E. Snow (lesbian parents; mother/child relationships; lesbian families; self-discovery; perseverance)

2.  Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers: A History of Lesbian Life in 20th Century America by Lillian Faderman (lesbian relationships; lesbian couples; romantic relationships; lesbian families)

3.  From This Day Forward: Commitment, Marriage and Family in Lesbian and Gay Relationships by Gretchen A. Stiers (lesbian marriage and family; monogamy; same-sex marriage; co-habitation)

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3 thoughts on “For Nights Like This One: Stories of Loving Women by Becky Birtha

  1. citygirlmuses says:

    I think you should also include in your book list Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters. It is a work of fiction that provides a glimpse into multiple worlds of lesbian life in Victorian England. It is a realistic approach to lesbian love life, not all heart and flowers, as well as touching on darker themes. It chronicles a young woman’s journey of love and self discovery. It provides the reader with a very different world view.

    So glad this blog is around. Women need to have their voices heard. Our life experiences are unique. Both collectively and individually we can change our society by standing up for those things that are unjust and unfair, as subtle as they may be. We need to celebrate women authors as well as other artists. It is demeaning to assume women create for women. We have a universal voice that can transcend gender.

  2. jilliemae says:

    Citygirlmuses, I will definitely add this to my reading list before the year is out! And I agree with you first of all about women creating only for women. When people assume this, it does a disservice to women and thusly negative, demeaning stereotypes are created, i.e. “chick flick” and so forth.
    I also think it’s important to feature artists like Birtha, Waters, and other female writers who may lack visibility but who are amazing writers whose work can make an invaluable contribution.

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