What is it that makes us straight or gay?
Is it environment or genetics?
Choice, chance or maybe even persuasion?
The answer to this age-old question is one that fledgling writer Margaret Allen sets out to discover as she endeavors to complete her first book. Taking on a subject she believes she knows well, she begins a very human odyssey, examining the lives of gay women, all of whom come from diverse backgrounds and mindsets.
Among those whom we meet are —
the florist, whose parents try to "cure" her of her homosexuality;
the twins who, separated at birth, live their lives at opposite ends of the economic spectrum;
the radiant redhead and her three failed marriages;
the poet who spent most of her young adult years as a nun;
the Kentucky woman who, as a new bride, makes a rather shocking discovery;
and the non-verbal, wheelchair-bound woman, who is a political activist with an extraordinary ability to communicate.
As we share in their deeply personal narratives, Margaret's book ultimately raises the question: "Are relationships between two women really all that different than heterosexual ones?"
Outside the Lavender Closet brings to life a collection of contemporary stories inspired by actual women and true events.
Martha A Taylor's Outside the Lavender Closet: Inspired by True Stories is affectionately-written and has an easy charm to it: I genuinely liked the narrator and her group of friends and I wanted the book to do well, but in the end it was let down by a series of careless errors which include all the usual suspects: punctuation, spelling, grammar, homophone substitution, cliché, and some rather odd logic.
That list of errors sounds much more damning than it should. There were lots of errors, and the text is often clumsy: in order to bring this book up to a publishable standard it needs to be completely rewritten, to sort out all the confusion and unbelievable dialogue; it needs a very strong edit to make it coherent and tight; and it needs a full copy-edit to clear away all those irritating errors. That's a lot of work, none of which would be worth doing on a text which was completely substandard: but I think it's worth doing here because despite all of its problems this one has a warmth and a character to it which most of the books I've reviewed here lack. It might well turn out to be a bit of a treasure if it were properly worked up. As it is, it's just not good enough, I'm afraid, and I read just three of its one hundred and forty-nine pages.