Picture of author.

Michelle Tea

Author of Valencia

26+ Works 3,439 Members 87 Reviews 22 Favorited

About the Author

Image credit: Author Michelle Tea at the 2018 Texas Book Festival in Austin, Texas, United States. By Larry D. Moore, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=74314826


Works by Michelle Tea

Valencia (2000) 586 copies
Rent Girl (2004) 419 copies
Rose of No Man's Land (2005) 359 copies
Mermaid in Chelsea Creek (2013) 188 copies
Black Wave (2016) 180 copies
How to Grow Up: A Memoir (2015) 155 copies
Coal to Diamonds: A Memoir (2012) 91 copies
Pills, Thrills, Chills, and Heartache: Adventures in the First Person (2004) — Editor; Contributor — 67 copies

Associated Works

The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2004 (2004) — Contributor — 740 copies
San Francisco Noir (2005) — Contributor — 103 copies
Working Sex: Sex Workers Write About a Changing Industry (2007) — Contributor — 88 copies
Read Hard: Five Years of Great Writing from the Believer (2009) — Contributor — 79 copies
Pen and Ink: Tattoos and the Stories Behind Them (2014) — Contributor — 71 copies
Best Lesbian Erotica 2004 (2003) — Introduction — 68 copies
Letter to a Stranger: Essays to the Ones Who Haunt Us (2021) — Contributor — 60 copies
Fist of the Spider Woman: Tales of Fear and Queer Desire (2009) — Contributor — 55 copies
Best Music Writing 2010 (2010) — Contributor — 33 copies
Politically Inspired (2003) — Contributor — 21 copies
Pathetic Literature (2022) — Contributor — 21 copies
Noirotica 3: Stolen Kisses (2000) — Contributor — 18 copies


anthology (46) autobiography (25) biography (26) Boston (22) class (18) comics (19) coming of age (26) drugs (18) essays (40) fantasy (24) feminism (54) feminist (18) fiction (202) gender (19) glbt (24) goodreads import (17) graphic novel (58) lesbian (89) lgbt (28) LGBTQ (50) memoir (164) non-fiction (124) novel (25) poetry (32) poverty (18) prostitution (26) punk (27) queer (158) read (33) San Francisco (54) sex (23) sex work (30) sexuality (20) short stories (25) tarot (29) to-read (359) women (28) working class (22) YA (23) young adult (33)

Common Knowledge



PERSONALS. F-to-F. 27 y/o femme seeks lover before the dead Earth extinguishes all life. Me: works in bookstores, writes funny memoirs, nightly drinker, open to drug use of various kinds. You: baby dyke andro, have a car. Note: I reserve the right to fuck Matt Dillon.
lelandleslie | 10 other reviews | Feb 24, 2024 |
I appreciate/endorse the message this book is trying to get across, but the rhyming text was not good. It's awkward to read aloud because the rhythm is inconsistent and some of the rhymes are tortured or ridiculous. For example, in searching for an article of clothing to rhyme with "nude" the author went for "snood." What is a snood? I'm not sure which is worse, that or this:

"A Drag Queen can show us all
how to have courage
while conjuring elegance
from a pile of old rubbage."

What is rubbage?! It's not in dictionary.com. Again, I'm not criticizing the message, but the quality of the writing. It seems like the author wanted to create a Dr. Seuss kind of rhyme, but didn't realize that it's actually difficult to do well. These lines in particular sound very similar to lines from The Grinch when the Whos down in Whoville all cry boo-hoo:

"Magoo certainly knew, he cried, 'Pink is the hue!
And I love it, I do, but I'm supposed to love blue!'
And he cried boo-hoo-hoo, my sweet brother Magoo--"

Ok, now maybe I will criticize the message of this book a little. There's one line in particular that didn't sit well with me:

"Did you know that some girl-kids inside feel like boys?
And that lots of boy-children have fierce, girlish poise?"

Again, I understand that this is well-intentioned. But it also implies that transgender boys are "girl-kids" who "feel like boys." Children can be very literal. It's better to explain that transgender boys are boys. Period. If a young child presses, you can say, "When this boy was born his parents thought he was a girl, but when he got older he told them he is a boy."

I also really dislike the word "girlish" because it's very close to "girly" which is often used as a taunt when directed at boys. We have to be careful not to reinforce gender stereotypes when we're teaching kids about gender expansiveness. It's a tricky thing.

My favorite part of this book was the cat wearing different costumes on each page. I also liked the tribute to notable drag queens and their "dazzling chutzpah."

Everyone has their own sense of how appealing different illustration styles are. The art in this book was not bad per se, but I didn't think it worked very well for a picture book about the beauty of defying gender expectations. There's something sort of aggressively/intentionally ugly about the art to me.

I wanted to like this, truly. But there are much better options out there like [b:The Hips on the Drag Queen Go Swish, Swish, Swish|44781697|The Hips on the Drag Queen Go Swish, Swish, Swish|Lil Miss Hot Mess|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1568192156l/44781697._SX50_.jpg|69427434] and [b:It Feels Good to Be Yourself: A Book About Gender Identity|40864913|It Feels Good to Be Yourself A Book About Gender Identity|Theresa Thorn|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1538423336l/40864913._SX50_.jpg|63657625].
… (more)
LibrarianDest | 1 other review | Jan 3, 2024 |
“They were twenty-seven already, in no time at all they’d be thirty, terrifying. No one knew what would happen then. Michelle couldn’t imagine anything more than writing zine-ish memoirs and working in bookstores.”

It's 1999 in San Francisco, and as shockwaves of gentrification sweep through Michelle's formerly scruffy neighborhood, money troubles, drug-fueled mishaps, and a string of disastrous affairs send her into a tailspin. Desperate to save herself, Michelle sets out to seek a fresh start in Los Angeles.

I started this book pretty much knowing nothing beyond the fact it was set in San Fran in the 90s and the main character was a writer. It seems like a normal memoir ish story of life in the town of friends and drugs and rebellion.

When the second half of the book moved to LA I couldn’t figure out what was going on. There was the talk of mass suicides and world ending stuff all being referred to in the background. People ‘dreaming’ about lovers who they would then try to find in waking life and in the centre of it our main character was figure out how to live their life. And what the point was in writing if no one was gonna read it.

I wondered at one point whether it would turn out ‘LA’ was actually a drug trip or some kind of last attempt for her brain to cling to life after she might have OD’d.

If I’d know the story was going to switch to an end of the world scenario I may have been more prepared but that’s my bad and really doesn’t reflect on how well this was written.

All in all this was brilliant exploration of queer life (and life ending) from a writer I’ve not read before. Confusion aside I would definitely read more of her stuff. I’d just be sure the fully read the summary.
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rosienotrose | 10 other reviews | Jul 11, 2023 |
Too much into the divination aspect, and too many personal stories from the author for it to connect with me. Plus the author writes about Rider-Waite, but uses a different deck for illustrations.
rumbledethumps | 3 other reviews | Jun 26, 2023 |



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