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Parker & Hulme: A Lesbian View Paperback – October 1, 1995


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 214 pages
  • Publisher: Firebrand Books (October 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1563410656
  • ISBN-13: 978-1563410659
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.7 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #149,777 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The movie Heavenly Creatures was based on New Zealand's notorious 1954 murder case in which two teenage girls, Pauline Parker and Juliet Hulme, killed Pauline's mother. The polite society of Christchurch was shattered not only by the murder, but also by suggestions of the girls' lesbianism. Feminist scholars Julie Glamuzina and Alison J. Laurie began researching the case in 1986, almost 10 years before the film's release, to contextualize the anti-lesbian hysteria surrounding the trial. This fascinating book looks at how and why that society viewed lesbianism as evil or insane.

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Customer Reviews

2.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 49 people found the following review helpful By JARuff on February 5, 2000
Format: Paperback
Like a lot of these other reviewers I bought this book because I saw the movie "Heavenly Creatures" and at the end I found myself wanting to know "what happened next?". When I searched through Amazon this is the only book that turned up, and while I wasn't interested in the case from a purely lesbian point of view I thought it might at least answer some of my questions about the murder, the subsequent trial and imprisonment of the two girls and what happened to them after their release. On these points the book was very helpful.(However,Parker and Hulme themselves were not interviewed for this book, nor were the full diaries of Pauline Parker researched.)
I was, however, a little dubious about the "lesbian view". The authors' goal is to once and for all disassociate lesbianism from criminality and/or mental illness which I think is applaudable. Public opinion about homosexuality is bad enough here in the '00s, I can't imagine how narrow it must have been in the '50s when the murder took place. But as I was reading I discovered that not only did the authors take offense at the villification of lesbians, but at the criminal image in which Parker and Hulme were viewed.Gay or not gay, I'm not sure how else to think of two girls who lure one of their mothers into the woods and beat her to death with a brick except as criminal. One part that actually made me laugh out loud was when the authors were criticizing the way the newspapers misrepresented the facts of the murder in order to distort peoples' opinions about the girls. The paper claimed that Mrs. Parker had been struck more than 40 times with the brick.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By David J. Schwartz on November 8, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It would be unfair to expect this book to react to Peter Jackson's film "Heavenly Creatures," inasmuch as it was written before the film was made. As a companion piece to the film, however, it fleshes out the New Zealand of the 1950's and gives the murder a societal context. Unfortunately I found it difficult to be engaged by the book's distance from its subjects; Pauline Parker and Juliet Hulme seem rather remote from the author's concerns, and the focus falls rather on the case's impact on contemporary and later lesbian politics and individuals. While I have no particular quarrel with the authors' politics, the title would suggest a closer examination of the girls themselves. In particular I question the authors' decision not to attempt to contact the grown-up Parker and Hulme for some comment. All in all, although this book places the events in context, it fails to illuminate the girls themselves.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Sarah Packard on January 10, 1999
Format: Paperback
I'm a huge fan of the film "Heavenly Creatures," which is of course how I got interested in the Parker & Hulme case, and this book was recommended to me by some fellow HC fans. It's pretty much the only comprehensive study devoted to the case out there, and I find it quite well-written as well as very thorough and utterly fascinating. A must-read if you enjoyed HC, especially because it covers the trial and all that happened *after* the murder, unlike the film, and is chock full of detailed facts and accounts, as well as analysis and cultural context. Overall a wonderful book, I'd recommend it to anyone and especially those who, like me, became intrigued by this story after seeing HC.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mary E. Young on August 3, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In 1954, two New Zealand girls, Pauline Parker and Juliet Hulme, killed Pauline's murder. This book explores the social and economic status of the girls, the Christchurch society and the overall conditions of the time period. It explores why children or women murder and discusses the anti-lesbian hysteria surrounding the trial. I picked up this book in order to read more about the case. Overall, the book contained few details about the girls life. It was more of a social commentary about the time period than about the girls themselves. Overall, I was a bit disappointed, not because of the writing style, but because I wanted to know more about the girls backgrounds, interactions and the murder itself.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 16, 1999
Format: Paperback
My first contact with the Parker and Hulme story came about one night in the 1960's. My interest at the time, during my own estrangement from the everyday world, was to go through old newspaper stories stored at San Francisco's Main Library. Late one night, while going through many newsclippings about the 1950's, I began to read this particular case and became increasingly moved. My tears fell all over the desk, and I never forgot what I had read. Years later, when the film came out, I was transfixed. And there aren't many films that I will buy on cassette to watch over and over, except Badlands and Heavenly Creatures. Eventually I got a computer, and of course went searching the internet for people who appreciate the same things as myself. The soul mate who put together a website asked if I had seen the book. And when I said I had not, she pointed out it was available here. The sub-title is "A Lesbian View." That soul mate, and others including myself, will disagree with the simplistic lesbian interpretation. And that controversy is at least a secondary aspect to this fascinating murder story. As with many other straight men, I find some lesbians to be quite erotic; but the friendship between Parker and Hulme appears spiritually intense and not very sexual at all. Whatever you think, especially if you saw the film and went absolutely bonkers, this book is worth buying.
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