Rachel Elizabeth's Reviews > The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For

The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For by Alison Bechdel
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's review
Mar 31, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: 2010, lgbtq, lady-lit

The lesbian soap opera that preceded The L Word is, unsurprisingly, much better. Bechdel's sense of humor is all over the histrionics of her hyper-learned and hyper self-aware characters, but there are also serious and important conversations to be found here.

The collection is overwhelming in scope: 20 years in the lives of seven women, with major and minor recurring supporting characters coming in and out of their world. Their many romantic affairs and infidelities share the focus with the state of American politics and world affairs -- "the personal is political" here to be sure.

At the end of the collection, I tried to think back and pick out a "favorite" character. But I couldn't. All were so flawed but human that I couldn't pick out any one as more likable than the others. I was interested equally in how they hurt each other and how they loved each other.

I was sad to close this book, but that wasn't when I cried. No, it was the death of two pets that got me, each a separate time. The lives of these characters are so fully realized that the pets who just linger in the background evolve, grow old, and die too. These are not just cartoons!

(OK, they totally are. But still. It was moving.)
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Reading Progress

March 31, 2010 – Shelved
May 17, 2010 – Started Reading
May 19, 2010 –
page 118
May 20, 2010 –
page 170
43.37% "I want to enter into a domestic partnership with Alison Bechdel tbh."
May 22, 2010 –
page 343
87.5% "Sad that this is ending soon. :("
May 23, 2010 – Shelved as: 2010
May 23, 2010 – Finished Reading
October 30, 2011 – Shelved as: lgbtq
January 24, 2015 – Shelved as: lady-lit

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