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 originallyÂ published inÂ Vol. 4, No. 1, Spring 1992.
One of the fruits of so much gay literature “coming out of the closet” has been the substantial number of books in which the main character’s gayness is simply part of the story, not the pivotal element. This is very much the case in Lark. This young-adult story is about 17-year-old Gillian and her meeting with two runaway children while she and her family are staying at their summer cabin on the lake.
The plot centers on Gillian’s attempts to help the runaways, both of whom are victims of child abuse, and theÂ older of whom, the Lark, is bright, sensitive, and suicidal. Gillian has some serious decisions: should she confide in her lover Suzanne? If she asks her parents for help, will they simply tum the kids over to authorities? Should she simply forget trying to help them, when she knows she doesn’t have the skills? Or, should she press on, helping the kids because she cares for them? She also has to decideÂ about coming out to the boy her parents think is herÂ boyfriend, which she does do, even though she is not yet out to her parents or to her older sister.
For a young adult, Gillian seems appropriately unsure of herself and anguished over her dilemmas and responsibilities, even though she is obviously clearheaded and mature in most areas of her life. She and Suzanne have already determined that their careers (forestry and art) demand that they go to separate colleges, and that Suzanne will join her in Oregon after finishing her two-year art program.
This is a tremendously positive and hopeful book — philosophical in a way, without being didactic. The supporting characters are well-drawn (her parents; Brad, the “boy next door”; her older sister and fiance). The book is an excellent choice for any collection of young adult fiction.
Reviewed by Susan Sills
School of Fine Arts
University of California