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GIRLS NEXT DOOR: Into the Heart of Lesbian America Hardcover – June 10, 1996

ISBN-13: 978-0684811185 ISBN-10: 0684811189 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 1 edition (June 10, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684811189
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684811185
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,099,915 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In a revealing cross-section of lesbian life in America, the authors, both journalists as well as life partners, report on their travels through various lesbian subcultures. They joined a cross-country Pride Ride of the Austin, Tex., Lesbian Avengers, a political direct-action group protesting anti-gay ordinances. They attended the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival, often called the "Lesbian Woodstock," where thousands of naked or seminude women gather in the woods for a tribal experience. They witnessed a lesbian wedding ceremony at a Unitarian Universalist church in Indiana; met closeted and open lesbian golf pros at chic parties on a Palm Springs, Calif., tournament circuit; and tagged after Seattle city councilwoman Sherry Harris, the nation's first avowed black elected lesbian official. Through interviews with some 100 women, a candid picture emerges of lesbians coping with low self-esteem, gay-bashing, rejection by their families and sexual self-definition. Many interviewees feel their sexuality is genetic or inborn, while others say they have made a conscious decision to leave heterosexual lifestyles. Van Gelder is chief writer for Allure; Brandt, a New York Daily News columnist.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Van Gelder and Brandt (Are You Two ... Together?: A Gay and Lesbian Grand Tour of Europe, LJ 5/1/91) bring a sense of humor and whimsy to this "field guide" to today's lesbian. Traveling around the country from 1993 to 1995, they met lesbians in three distinct arenas: at the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival, at the Dinah Shore/LPGA tournament in Palm Springs, and on an "action" with the Lesbian Avengers. Over 100 lesbians across the spectrum-radical separatists and lipstick lesbians, ministers and ex-nuns, moderate Democrats and grass-roots activists-were interviewed about themselves and about lesbian issues. The authors, with wry affection, describe their Sapphic sisters as egalitarian, inclusive, compassionate, earnest (often to a fault), and tolerant. The majority of lesbians are, they report, rather boring and desire the ordinary things in life: love, enduring relationships, families, acceptance, and to become less invisible in the larger culture (hence the title). A lively and accessible popular work that should appeal to readers of any gender or sexual orientation; recommended for all libraries.
Jo McClamroch, Xavier Univ. Lib., Cincinnati
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 13, 1999
Format: Paperback
Most people associate non-fiction with "dry and boring." This book is not dry or boring in any way. There are parts that had me laughing so hard tears were rolling down my cheeks. I especially enjoyed the chapter on the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival and the Lesbian Avengers. Funny and insightful stuff. It isn't intended to be purely comedic and there are some serious parts. (It isn't fluff writing). The authors just have a witty writing style and they aren't afraid to poke fun at dyke culture. They interviewed over 100 women in preparation for this book (sex shop owners, ex-nuns, political activists, closeted teachers, sex workers, divorced lesbians, long-term couples, etc).
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By "elegantrose" on December 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is a clever, informative book that attempts to explore the lesbian experience in the US without taking itself too seriously. The authors' breezy, almost conversational tone makes this a fun and educational read. Far from being elitist, the authors have attempted (and succeeded, IMO) to portray to vast diversity within our culture, from the Birkenstock-clad Michigan womyn to the lipstick crowd at Dinah, and everything in between. They sometimes poke gentle fun at some of the absurdities of lesbian society, without being critical or judgmental. I highly recommend this book for anyone, gay or straight, who wants to learn something about lesbian life and culture.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 4, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This book is an excellent resource for the burning question "how do i meet people like me?" It is an excellent look at the lesbian/gay lifestyle in the US today, while being both very entertaining and educational. Many of the stories and places mentioned seem to center around the Southern California area, with specific club names and local contributors. I loved this book and all of the stories that these two intelligent women had the courage and humor to tell. I would recommend this book to anyone hoping to learn more about themselves or loved ones.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 21, 1996
Format: Hardcover
Who should read this book? The answer is: everyone should read it, both straight and gay, if for nothing else than to see how their labels and misconceptions stack up against the real thing.

The "real thing" that the authors deliver comes from more than a hundred interviews with women around the country. They also take the reader to three lesbian events; the Michigan Womyns' Music Festival, the Dinah Shore Golf Tournament's party events, and a jaunt with the activist group Lesbian Avengers. All adventures and descriptions bring the reader closer (and farther away) from understanding women-loving-women in America, and the authors' style is intensely serious and at the same time, irreverent, funny and witty. The reader gets wonderful insights like, "Straights and gay men often just do what feels good. Lesbians analyze it, challenge it, justify it, wring it out and hang it up to dry on the village green."

In a society that fears the unknown and is seeking desperately to preserve the traditional family, this book will help put faces and names on those not-so-terrible girls next door
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