Week 8: Intimacy: Relationships & Romance
Books: Annie On My Mind by Nancy Garden &
Romiette and Julio by Sharon M Draper
Annie On My Mind is probably one of the first mainstream GLBT books written for teens. Taken in that light, it's good for what it is, and for the time in which it was written. 25 years later, it's a bit dated, but could be a good starting point.
Liza is a teen in NY, just living life, when she meets Annie at a museum. The attraction between the two is instant, although more in a friend-kind of way. They sort out their feelings for each other, and start exploring a more physical relationship.
Of course the girls are caught in flagrante delicto (of course they are-it's just how these stories go) at Liza's teacher's house (the teacher was on vacation with her longterm woman partner, and Liza was taking care of their cat). Liza ends up expelled from school, the teachers end up fired, and Annie & Liza break up.
But all is well in the end, when Liza decides to call Annie from college to see if they can meet over winter break.
Although the story was probably very cutting edge when it was published in the 1980's, it seems rather circumspect now, 25 years later. If I hadn't known what the book was about, I would have wondered what in the world was going on, and tossed it aside. I'm not sure it would really speak to today's teens/YA, but like I said, it at least gives a starting point.
As for Romiette and Julio, well, it was OK, but nothing to write home about. Maybe it's because I already studied Romeo and Juliet, and have read enough stories that are basically R & J repackaged into a more modern format, but I thought that overall, this book was weak.
It follows the same outline, with even the names being similar. There's a part in the book where one of the parents even remarks upon the similarity of the names. Romiette is a young black girl, and Julio is a young hispanic boy. Of course they meet and fall in love immediately, and of course there are those who oppose their love. No surprise there. Thing is, the characters are almost caricatures--Juliio is very hispanic, almost stereotypically so. Romiette isn't as bad, thankfully, but they just didn't ring true for me.
At least in this version, although they come close, nobody dies in the end. So, it's got that going for it.