Stone Butch Blues Book Review

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Gabriella Montes
Stone Butch Blues

Leslie Feinberg has done an extraordinary deed in her writing of Stone Butch Blues. She has unlocked her soul to anyone who reads and showed us the fears of being different no matter how slight it may be. At first I was reading it because I was required to for this course, but I found myself unable to put the book down. This book is not only an important historical narrative for the gay community, it is a captivating novel yet the “plot” doesn’t follow a traditional arch at all. It takes place during the 60s mostly and has helped me learn a lot about the Women’s Movement and the history of LGBTQ rights in the United States. Stone Butch Blues is modestly the story of a person who, because of the callousness of our society, does not fit into the “social norm.” In telling this story, Feinberg is a voice to the queer life in America.

Although this is sold as a novel, it reads something like a biography. It stands as a straining tale of a person just trying to be accepted. The main character, protagonist, and narrator of Stone Butch Blues is Jess Goldberg. Jess never quite fits into all the different suits - butch or femme, man or woman, but eventually finds their own identity, away from labels and group conformity. Those reading would agree that Jess was a walking contradiction; she was a tough and introverted butch on the exterior, mixed with vulnerability and fear on the in the interior. Reading this novel I almost felt like I was carrying around Jess with me and never ever did I want to leave her behind.

Jess Goldberg is greeted as family within the prevalent middle class bar scene in Buffalo, New York. That is the location where Jess discovers community, love and guidance. As much as Jess yearns to openly express her sexuality that is something that cannot be done in every location. In the labor world, Jess encounters much trouble searching for and sustaining jobs because of her sexuality and being a butch. She is...
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