Author: Janet Green
Publisher: Troubador Publishing Ltd
Publication Date: 28 March 2016
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Diversity: LGBT Characters (lesbian), faith (jewish)
TW: rape, child abuse, child sexual abuse, drug abuse, anti-semitism, abusive relationships, abortion
Summary: Having been brutally introduced to sex at the tender age of fourteen, Janet Green’s strikingly honest memoir begins as she completes her first gig as a stripper at a rough pub in Hackney; she’s very nervous, and rather stoned…
Beginning in the 1950s, Janet’s early sexual experiences are put aside when she begins to question her sexuality – she rejects any consideration that she might be a lesbian – she just wants to experiment. In a time when gay sexuality was hidden, Janet was unsure how to meet other girls who were not lesbians. It was her sister, Debbie, who suggested swinging parties and Janet found that that was the solution.
Janet went on to live in a passionate, but volatile, relationship before relocating to a hippy commune where she developed a penchant for recreational drugs, becoming seduced by the mellow lifestyle. During her time there, Janet was introduced to Dany who encouraged her to become both a stripper and glamour model. Knowing this had a limited shelf life, Janet begun a degree course in Social Sciences and embarked on a relationship with a young woman, Naomi.
Around the same time, Janet’s sister relayed the shocking revelation that their father has sexually abused her as a child, which flung Janet’s life into despair. Shocked and devastated, Janet poured her energies into study. She went on to graduate and found that her confidence blossomed. Bright, lovable and popular, Janet discovered that education was her passport to success. She might still be a rebel, but no longer without a clue…
Disclaimer: I received an e-copy of this book on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
A brutally honest memoir about growing up as a jewish lesbian in the 1950s.
Janet’s life was never easy. The youngest of six children, she always had to wear Hand-me-Downs, her oldest sister was more of a mother to her than her real mother. Still her mother held a firm grip on her family and even beat her children at times. When her father died her mother got a lobotomy to deal with her depression and afterwards her family life was a bit calmer. Even though she isn’t religious, she is still “visible” jewish and has to deal with anti-semitic remarks. She was assaulted when she was 14 and often coerced into sex or outright raped afterwards.
Around 19 she figures out that she might not be entirely straight and goes to sex clubs to at least get the chance to be intimate with women.
The book is very descriptive, which made it at points hard for me to read,but I adored the honesty. I also always enjoy to learn more about LGBT history.
While the writing style is not very prosaic or anything, it feels real and I enjoyed the book. It’s a quick read, but a hard one and I had to take a couple of breaks to deal with all the things that were happening.
All in all the book was very shocking at times, but I honestly admire Janet for being that open. It was a challenging read, but I enjoyed it and I feel incredible happy that Janet is doing better now. I also admire her strength, especially since she went on to work with HIV positive people in the UK, which surely was no easy job.
Why I read it: A memoir about a lesbian growing up during the 1950s? Sounds interesting!
Do I recommend it: If you enjoy biographies/memoirs and are not sensitive to any of the triggers mentioned above yes.