Julia's Reviews > Valencia

Valencia by Michelle Tea
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's review
Nov 15, 2008

liked it
bookshelves: memoirs, feministy
Read in November, 2008

I first read Valencia for one of Susan Fraiman's brilliant seminars (I think Contemporary Women's Texts?) during the spring of my first year of college. Michelle Tea was my first introduction to real lesbian fiction, and she absolutely excels in channeling the frenetic pulse of the girl scene in San Francisco circa the early 90s. Her memoir/fiction (the lines are blurred) zings with the unbound energy of the idealistic, and when she's heartbroken, she's heartbroken to a degree I think only the young, fabulous, and broke are truly capable of. She was an epic, self-indulgent mess, but that's why it's good.

After a re-read (I was in San Francisco, and it seemed only appropriate to replace my lost copy), I have realized that, while I found it still fun and challenging and sexy and totally unique, the first time I read Valencia, it was exactly the right book at exactly the right time, you know? So I don't know that I can ever get back to my original obsession (chalk it up to diminishing idealism), but there's still plenty to really enjoy, and I'll always fondly remember how much I adored this book way back when.

Tea, on inner selves:
"I knew what I stood for, even if nobody else did. I knew the piece of me on the inside, truer than all the rest, that never comes out. Doesn't everyone have one? Some kind of grand inner princess waiting to toss her hair down, forever waiting at the tower window. Some jungle animal so noble and fierce you had to crawl on your belly through dangerous grasses just to get a glimpse."
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