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.
Author: Birtha, Becky
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)
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)