INVISIBLE LIVES: The Loving AIternative of Millions of Women by Martha Barron Barrett

INVISIBLE LIVES: The Loving AIternative of Millions of Women

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Paperback novelist Barrett (Maggie's Way, God's Country) surveys 125 lesbians across the country, seeking to smash destructive stereotypes by combining empathetic analysis with the stories of ""women-loving women."" Interviewing women from Spokane to Maine, Barrett sketches in the shadowy outline of an invisible nation, a lesbian nation. It's a lonely place, a sexual Third World where even articulate, highly educated achievers fear the persecution that can come with discovery. The diverse women in the book seem to speak with one voice about the pain of living a lie (many of the women use pseudonymns). Recounting lost jobs, lost families, excruciating humiliations, the women who have decided to come out describe their lives--a few have found a miraculous acceptance from family members, most have emerged only to sink into a kind of enclave society with separate music, separate books, separate heroes. Barrett tackles lesbian history, exploding the dark image of the alcoholic dyke by highlighting cultivated older women living lives of quiet contentment. Interviewing a yuppie producer in Manhattan, a teacher in Washington State, and other professionals, however, she reveals that many women-loving women still refuse to identify with lesbianism--the old loathsome stereotypes still repel them. An earnest effort, bursting with feminist spirit, though no doubt a bit too stalwart for some (""Two thousand women symbols of probably ten million--rose, wet-eyed, applauding, sharing a moment of the sisterhood of loneliness that is peculiarly their own"")

Pub Date: Aug. 18th, 1989
Publisher: Morrow