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Crybaby Butch

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  133 ratings  ·  11 reviews
Drawing on her experience as an adult literacy tutor, Judith Frank's first novel traces the difficult and sometimes hilarious connection between two butches of different generations - a middle-class, thirty-something adult literacy teacher and her older, working-class student. With a disparate group of adult learners as the backdrop, Frank examines, with warmth and wit, th ...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published November 1st 2004 by Firebrand Books (first published 2004)
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3.65  · 
Rating details
 ·  133 ratings  ·  11 reviews

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Oct 26, 2018 rated it liked it
I found this book frustrating because it had so much potential yet needed so much work. I think it would've been fulfilling to be her editor and be the one to say "Great characterization, but we don't need so much backstory on every character" or "I can't tell what's going on in this chapter where you don't use any names." It felt like the flaws in her writing were concrete and fixable, whereas the stuff that can't be taught she's got. Her characters are multi-faceted, you can see how they come ...more
Mar 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is a really interesting (the words jump out of the text and completely captivate you) read about the relationships between butch and femme lesbians. It will help you re-examine and analyze the labels you just thought were labels in the gay community. The characters in the book, especially Anna and Chris, are complex, rich in their personal backgrounds, and intriguing. Pick this book up and give it a shot.
Gr Keer
Dec 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
i'm glad i read this book. the plot wanders, toward the end, but the characters grapple with topics i am thinking about right now. i'm also a sucker for any book that is so in love with "stone butch blues."
Nov 15, 2018 rated it liked it
2.5 stars
Faith Reidenbach
Jan 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
The best fiction I've read that zeroes in on class and race from a white (Jewish) person's perspective. The main character, Anna, is a butch Jewish lesbian in her first year of teaching adults to read. She was born upper middle-class but, despite her PhD, she's living lower middle-class because she can't get an academic job. We learn a lot about the principles and methods of adult basic education, and since I was once a literacy tutor, that interested me in itself.

Most of Anna's students are pe
Bad Cookie
Jun 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed reading this book, but it's definitely not a light summer read. My heart broke for the characters in this book, for Chris and the other students Anna is teaching. They've all lived through cruel and harsh lives, yet they're still hopeful of improving their lives through learning how to read. My only wish is that the ending had been different. I wasn't expecting a cheesy Hollywood ending, but I wanted something more definite. The hell with it, I wanted Chris to dump Kathleen and end up ...more
Jul 07, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: book-club, lgbt
Another one for the book club. Unfortunately, I didn't finish in time and after we all discussed it I put it back on the shelf - obviously it didn't have too much of a pull... In an attempt to finish all my half started books this year I finished it 3 months late(r). I'm glad I did too because the people in the book remind me of how I don't want to be. There were so many different points of view it all seemed a bit jumbled in the end. It was a sneak peek into people's lives where the ending does ...more
Aug 26, 2015 rated it did not like it
Yup, that's it. I soldiered on for book club but am ditching this after 205 of its 416 pages. I have suffered enough tedious detail and bouncing around different characters' heads.

It's a shame as the book tries to explore some interesting themes of race, class, butch identity, butch/femme dynamics and the effects of adult illiteracy. My opinion, and others in book club differed, is that the writing is just too amateur to do these justice.
May 15, 2008 marked it as to-read
Shelves: lesbo-a-go-go
Judy was my advisor in college, so I am really interested to see what this is like...I used to love it when she would make all sorts of references to Leave It To Beaver and the Mets in her Politics of the Gothic in the English novel class...
Feb 10, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: queer-interest
Follow on the heels of Stone Butch Blues. It's a nice enough story and brings up the important issue of the disconnect between older and younger generations in the queer community, but you could do better.
Mar 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, glbt
remembering I read this a long time ago.
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Judith Frank holds a BA from the Hebrew University, and an MFA and PhD from Cornell University. She is the author of Crybaby Butch (Firebrand Books, 2004), which was awarded a Lambda Literary Award in 2004. In 2008 she received a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship for All I Love and Know. She has been a resident at Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony, and has published short fiction in The Mass ...more
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