Book review: Secrets: Short Stories, by Leslea Newman

The GLBTRT has been reviewing books and movies in its newsletter since the early 1990s. Trace the evolution of queer publishing through these historic reviews. This review was originally published in Vol. 3, No. 1 & 2, Fall 1990/Winter 1991.

Cover of SecretsNewman, Leslea. Secrets: Short Stories. New Victoria Publishers, 1990. Paper. $8.95. (ISBN 0-934678-24-3).

Newman’s unusual collection of 11 short stories touches upon many of those thoughts, feelings, experiences and emotions that have all too often been forgotten or have been kept hidden or are all to painful too admit but have,
nevertheless, contributed to and will continue to shape the lesbian personality.

These stories deal with emotional alienation and self-doubt, the fear of staying in a relationship and the fear of leaving, the stress of dating and the strength of commitment. Two are written from a child’s perspective: “Right Off the Bat” on what it means to be a child of a lesbian; “Secrets” describes an episode of sexual abuse of a young girl by an anonymous phone stranger. In “Perfectly Normal,” one of the most original stories, an anorexic, neurotic woman, in the presence of her therapist, compares her “normalcy” to the “perversions” of her lesbian sister. Although these stories contain more dark than light, the reader finds a rather amusing tale (almost comic relief) when Zoey B. Jackson (“a proper old-fashioned stonebulldyke”) surprises herself when she falls in love with the “girl of her dreams.”

Original and genuinely worth reading. Recommended for all library collections.

Reviewed by Jane Jurgens
Northeastern Illinois University
Chicago, Illinois

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