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Pages for You: A Novel by Sylvia Brownrigg
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Pages for You: A Novel

by Sylvia Brownrigg

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2321049,816 (3.6)5
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  1. 00
    Lessons by Kim Pritekel (fireblossom32)
    fireblossom32: Both books involve an eighteen-year-old woman away at college for the first time, who experiences romantic feelings for another woman. And both are excellent, though different.
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Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
I just finished reading Pages For You and I am surprised I had never heard of it before. I mean, I understand there is still that stigma associated with the LGBT community and for that reason books with LGBT couples are not commonly read in high schools. However, with time that will change and I can definitely see thus becoming part of curriculum. Its storyline and character depth as well as the way it is written reminded me greatly of the classics I read in high school, like Catcher In the Rye and The Bell Jar. I believe Flannery and I would be great friends. get to know her by reading this great work of fiction by author Sylvia Brownrigg. ( )
  tielwingsmama | Sep 29, 2014 |
I just finished reading Pages For You and I am surprised I had never heard of it before. I mean, I understand there is still that stigma associated with the LGBT community and for that reason books with LGBT couples are not commonly read in high schools. However, with time that will change and I can definitely see thus becoming part of curriculum. Its storyline and character depth as well as the way it is written reminded me greatly of the classics I read in high school, like Catcher In the Rye and The Bell Jar. I believe Flannery and I would be great friends. get to know her by reading this great work of fiction by author Sylvia Brownrigg. ( )
  tielwingsmama | Sep 29, 2014 |
I just finished reading Pages For You and I am surprised I had never heard of it before. I mean, I understand there is still that stigma associated with the LGBT community and for that reason books with LGBT couples are not commonly read in high schools. However, with time that will change and I can definitely see thus becoming part of curriculum. Its storyline and character depth as well as the way it is written reminded me greatly of the classics I read in high school, like Catcher In the Rye and The Bell Jar. I believe Flannery and I would be great friends. get to know her by reading this great work of fiction by author Sylvia Brownrigg. ( )
  tielwingsmama | Sep 29, 2014 |
In response to a simple adverb phrase found on page 17 (“emerald mockery”), I wrote this in my marginalia:

Bloody genius. The mockery of her eyes. Deeper level of meaning: she hasn’t witnessed it but she desires it! Difficult to set up even in a narrative. Even more difficult: forcing the reader to pull out and analyse an adverb!

Generally I’d never bother with such in depth annotation on a single two word phrase, preferring instead to look at the piece objectively as a whole when and if I review it. In truth, my notes on Brownrigg’s “Pages for You” have ended up filling several pages, with a great deal more left uncommented, but for which I chose instead to just use highlighter for future reference and inspiration.

Reading this ostensibly young adult novel actually took this English major turned library science grad the majority of the year before I’d let myself finish it. Having purchased the book in January and made it through a few chapters, I forced myself to stop and read only segments at a time--to savor the first reading. Somewhere around the end of March I apparently had my attention pulled back to Pages for the incredible middle segment of the novel, but again I stopped before I became addicted. Finally I came to the turning point in the novel and the foreshadowing helped me to decide to procrastinate it a little, and eventually I wound up finishing it here in the end of November.

There are, of course, other striking poetic novels and even other poetic novels with lesbian themes--one might easily point to Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s 1856 magnum opus, Aurora Leigh, as being the grandmother of such a genre (and perhaps a source of inspiration for Brownrigg). However, Pages for You is only separated from today’s reader by one decade, rather than sixteen and for this reader, it was a decade of reflection back to a time when she lived an experience all but identical to Flannery’s. When Browning was writing Aurora, a great many readers could understand the underlying tensions, but it had minor impact in the way so many of us today can finally relate to Brownrigg’s baby dyke bildungsroman. In point of fact, as I finished the novel this morning, on page 268, upon the words, “via campus mail” (referring to Flannery returning Anne’s apartment keys), I made the notation, remarking of Brownrigg, “Holy shit, this person has lived my life.”

"What did you do? I've--I've never felt anything like that before" (126), quoth Anne. To which I once wrote in my marginalia, "What a coincidence. I've never read anything this beautiful yet arousing before,” and indeed I have not. When Brownrigg decided toward the end of the piece (one might imagine an ending altered by her current mood) to break the fourth wall and indicate to her readers the difficulty in getting this novel published I empathized, and am very glad someone took a chance on it. It isn’t the sort of thing that fits well into today’s publishing model: far from being an Eragon or Hunger Games, Pages for You is a piece of lesbian memoir writing, wrapped in a fictional narrative, buried under a blanket of frozen language, separated by a gulf of poetic allusion...aimed at a young female readership. Emotionally or plot-wise, it’s also not quite what a parent would necessarily be looking to find on a daughter’s bookshelf…

…or maybe it is. The ending as written does not indicate to the reader whether or not Flannery continues to love women in the future, but it’s hard to miss the implication that falling in love with another woman can lead to heartbreak. Although the implication might be only as benign as to say that older women have baggage… Or simply that giving away one’s trust has consequences (so be prepared for a decade of PTSD and melancholy memoir writing). There is thankfully no implicit happily ever after as one might expect to find if Pages had been written by Malinda Lo. On page 217 when “Anne was forever telling Flannery, she had plenty of time,” I actually commented, “It’s ironic what horribly bad advice that is.” And so, I’m actually having difficulty imaging a case in which I would offer this piece as reader’s advisory to a teenager, but for a 20s or 30s-something reader like myself who’s already lived through just such an experience or two as Flannery encounters, it’s perfect.

If forced, in the end, to make that ugly overarching single sentence analysis, about Pages for you I might say:

Lyrical bliss. ( )
  senbei | Nov 25, 2013 |
First love between two women, a college freshman and TA. ( )
  CandaceVan | Apr 16, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312420048, Paperback)

Winner of a 2002 Lambda Literary Award

In a steam-filled diner in a college towm, Flannery Jansen catches sight of something more beautiful than she's ever seen: a graduate student, reading. The seventeen-year-old, new to evrything around her—college, the East Coast, bodies of literature, and the sexual flurries of student life—is shocked by her desire to follow this wherever it will take her. When Flannery finds herself enrolled in a class with remote, brilliant older woman, she is intimidated at first, but gradually becomes Anne Arden's student—Baudelaire, lipstick colors, or how to travel with a lover—Flannery proves an eager pupil, until one day learns more about Anne than she ever wanted to know.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:54:29 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

"In a steam-filled diner in a college town, Flannery Jansen catches sight of something more beautiful than she's ever seen: a graduate student, reading. The seventeen-year-old, new to everything around her - college, the East Coast, bodies of literature, and the sexual flurries of student life - is shocked by her desire to follow this beauty wherever it will take her. When Flannery finds herself enrolled in a class with the remote, brilliant older woman, she is intimidated at first, but gradually becomes Anne Arden's student outside class as well. Whatever the subject - Baudelaire, lipstick colors, or how to travel with a lover - Flannery proves an eager pupil, until one day she learns more about Anne than she ever wanted to know."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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