G.L. Morrison's Reviews > Truth or Fiction

Truth or Fiction by Jeanine Hoffman
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really liked it
bookshelves: magic-mystery-and-other-mayhem, fairy-tales-for-adults

This book was a literal epiphany for me. I was considering as I read it where "lesbian lit" falls in the Chick Lit genre. Is it a sub-genre, an intersection, or...? I remember arguing with Barbara Grier that lesbian romances were feminist literature because they advanced lesbian lives, centered around women as the actors in their lives/stories and HEA (Happy ever after -monogamously paired) was a mandate of Naiad Press at the time and in Grier's perspective essential to tip the scales of Well of Loneliness and decades (if not centuries) of suicidal lesbian stories. We, writers and readers, owed it to lesbians isolated in the Heartland to offer lifelines of hope and positivity. How that argument has sat with me over the years and been rehashed in my heart and philosophy is a different story than I set out to write in this review. Perhaps every book I read becomes a participant in this raucous internal dialogue.

Hoffman's book is hopeful and positive. But more interesting to me perhaps is the essential lesbianness at the core of it. It is a unique and fascinating take on the shifter genre. The novel approach of the literally two-spirited shifter community bends the genre into a delightful pretzel. No Jeckel/Hyde, human/animal, control/out-of-control, ego/id. There are aspects of this new paradigm that appeal to the polyamorous, demisexual, what does it mean to have a soulmate, demographic.

But more than that --this is what makes Lesbian Lit a stand-alone genre, not a stepsister of Chick Lit: the crisis, growth, story arc, are so "lesbian" as to be inaccessible to many readers. Everything, how close does the courting couple get and how fast; how does your history make who you are; family of origin vs family of choice; when/what lies are forgivable; *everything* gets spelled out in internal struggle and in dialogue with the characters. That crisis: to understand, to identify, to choose. That is the crisis of the book --not a bullet, not a car chase, not a bomb to save the city/country/world/girl from.

That is lesbian literature, folks. Faithful readers of it, follow it and get it because it is a magnification of the thoughtful and intentional lives and loves we are trying to live. We see ourselves in these pages of conversations. Lesbians process! I was engaged. It mattered. But over my shoulder was a shadow reader cognizant that there are people who won't get it. It's not for them.

I want to say that a book that I like is "for everyone" but it isn't. This is a loveable, unpretentious, fantasy romp so detailed in the questions it asks its universe that it has a slight sci/fi lilt to it. There is a lot I could say about this. (And I intend to do a video for my Q Lit page so more will be said). But I won't say too much more here because I want this review free of spoilers.

Truth or Fiction is book two in the Animus series. It brings up the possibilities for many interesting future plot lines. I haven't read book one yet. Would love comments from those who have.
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Reading Progress

July 24, 2020 – Started Reading
July 25, 2020 – Finished Reading
July 26, 2020 – Shelved as: magic-mystery-and-other-mayhem
July 26, 2020 – Shelved
July 26, 2020 – Shelved as: fairy-tales-for-adults

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