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Toothpick House Paperback – 1986

5 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Naiad Press; First Edition edition (1986)
  • ASIN: B000WSRH24
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.4 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,239,285 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Erin Schmidt on November 20, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition
"Toothpick House" is set in the early to mid-1970s. It was a different world then, before "Ellen" and "Will & Grace," when most lesbian and gay people were still deeply closeted. The bit of acceptance LGBT people experience today was hard-fought and won by previous generations, who endured police raids of their hangouts and blatant discrimination and harassment on the streets. Until society embraces equal rights for people of all sexualities, it will never be "easy" to live as an out lesbian, but things have still come a long way since the days when abortion rights were still denied to women and simply being in a lesbian bar could get you arrested.

When Lee Lynch first published this seminal lesbian novel in 1983, the 1970's were a fresh memory and much of this novel rang true as everyday experience for the women who read it. Almost thirty years later, there is a certain element of history to it. For example, abortion being illegal comes up in conversation at one point. Still, it's never lost its relevance or its power to draw the reader into the characters' lives.

These are great characters. It's chiefly about tall, blond, half-Irish, half-Swedish, Bostonian cab driver Annie Heaphy. She lives life her own way and demands respect for it, though being called a dyke in the streets still has the power to reduce her to tears. She has a great support system in her friends, the regulars at Marcy's bar: Ellie, Dusty, Peg, and the irrepressible Marieanne, better known as Turkey. Although she's a smart woman with middle-class aspirations, the one thing Annie can't stand is a snob, especially a snob from Yale.

Enter Victoria Locke, a Yale senior. She grew up in genteel poverty in her parents' WASP-y home, strictly under the thumb of their manners and values.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was the author's first published novel. Already a published author with articles and short stories, practice does make perfect as the writing is first rate.

The reader is drawn into the lives of Annie & Victoria and all who enter their world. I was so enamored by them, that at the end of the novel I wanted to search out the author's 12 other books in hopes of catching a glimpse of them.

The novel is laced with humor and passion. I especially enjoyed Victoria and Annie's sharing their hopes, fears, and dreams with each other. They are truly alive in spirit to the reader.

From the back of the book - Annie Heaphy, cab driving baby butch, lives a life of freedom in a shack on the Connecticut coast. Her dislike of Yalies and all they represent at first extends to beautiful, self-possessed Victoria Locke. Then they fall in love and both their worlds change forever. TOOTHPICK HOUSE is their story, but it is also the story of the women's movement, the changes it brings to traditional Lesbian lives, and the ways in which it affected all young women of the 1970s.
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Format: Paperback
"Toothpick House" is pioneer author Lee Lynch's first novel. Raising the bar is exponential when an author starts out high. Of course this quote has more meaning when read in context, but please indulge me here. I love this book because it's not only a love story but it depicts a slice of history when even feminists had issues with lesbians joining the cause. I took a Women in Literature course in college and wonder why Lee Lynch's periodicals i.e., The Ladder, Sinister Wisdom, and Common Lives/Lesbian Lives weren't on the syllabus. "Toothpick House" came out after I'd graduated so I forgive them that.

The following paragraph mirrors what is going on in Annie's life at the moment. Lee Lynch wrote it so eloquently and succinctly that it brought tears to my eyes. The emotion was right there as plain as the words on a page.

"For Annie, it was a grey week punctuated by the shy swelling of the buds on the willow trees by her house. Their new light greens brought tears to her eyes as she marched past them on her morning walks. They stirred the part of herself that was like them and she wondered if they were altogether happy that now they were committed to leave their warm winter casings and hang all upside down, exposed to the winds and whatever they might bring" (p. 126).

When I reviewed "The Swashbuckler" a while back, I was forever enamored with Frenchy, but now I have a new heroine to love. With time running out to have my first book in print, I simply don't have time to do formal reviews at the moment, but some thoughts just have to be shared. I highly recommend everything penned by Lee Lynch with complete confidence. My goal is to read her work in order of release and watch her grow. It's going to be a wonderful journey as I've read her later work first, but I'm not complaining.
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Format: Paperback
I sometimes compose lists in my head of the ten books I would take to a desert island and Toothpick House always makes the list. I read it maybe 20 years ago. I would advise anyone thinking about giving this book a try to read a few sample pages. I think you will be hooked and want to read everything else Lee Lynch has written.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The first of the stories about early Lesbian life in the 1950-60s. Very good series of books.
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