Book review: The Rebellion of Miss Lucy Ann Lobdell, by William Klaber

cover of shineKlaber, William. The Rebellion of Miss Lucy Ann Lobdell. Greenleaf Book Group Press, 2013. $24.95. 294p. PB. 978-1-60832-562-7.

The Rebellion of Miss Lucy Ann Lobdell by William Klaber is a fictionalized memoir of a historical person. Lucy Ann Lobdell’s story takes place in the decade before the American Civil War and follows the life she leads after leaving an abusive husband and young daughter. After escaping, Lobdell assumes her grandfather’s name Joseph and begins to live her life as a man. Struggling with sexual desire, Lobdell eventually gives in to his feelings for women. After a town discovers his biological female identity, Lobdell escapes to the Minnesota territory. There he spends a winter at an outpost with a man who is unaware of Lobdell’s biological gender. Again, Lobdell must flee because people have discovered his secret.

Lobdell’s tale is full of love, heartbreak, forgiveness and loss. Even with the struggles, Lobdell thrives with his new identity, and it is exhilarating to experience how he grows as a person, coming to terms with being comfortable in his body and soul. Throughout Lobdell’s journey, the struggle with sexual orientation is very present, and the new gender-based privileges given to Lobdell after taking on the male identity are illustrated throughout the story.

Because The Rebellion of Miss Lucy Ann Lobdell includes some graphic sexual content and violent scenes, it is recommended for readers aged 16 and up. I believe anyone who enjoys reading historical fiction or coming-of-age stories will find this book to be exceptional. The Rebellion of Miss Lucy Ann Lobdell will fit well in any public or academic library’s historical fiction collection.

Reviewer: Talia Earle


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