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Women in the Shadows by Ann Bannon
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***this review contains spoilers***

The third book in the Beebo Brinker series, Women in the Shadows is dark and quite depressing. Although Laura and Beebo ended up together, seemingly happy, at the end of I Am a Woman, their relationship has soured, at least on Laura's side. She no longer loves Beebo, although Beebo is desperately in love with her - so desperate, in fact, that Beebo kills her beloved dog Nix and tells Laura that she was beaten and raped. Wow.

As if that isn't enough, Laura carries on a quasi-affair with an Indian girl named Tris (who isn't really Indian or named Tris), Beebo almost kills Laura, and Laura ends up marrying a man - Jack. And is pregnant with his baby by the end of the book (although thanks to artificial insemination).

It's like the series took some horrible turn and started moralizing about how being gay is wrong and Jack and Laura are only able to find a mutually fulfilling relationship with each other because one of them is a man and one is a woman and they're fulfilling the biological imperative to reproduce. I don't know what happened.

I'll finish out the series, but this book is definitely not the highlight of it. Hopefully the next is better. ( )
  schatzi | Apr 26, 2011 |
Note: This review is for this book alone, not the series as a whole; it does assume the reader has read the first two books in the series and is familiar with the characters.

When Women in the Shadows opens, Laura and Beebo are marking their second anniversary, and Laura's initial love and excitement at finding a community have turned to disillusionment. Unhappy with Beebo but frightened to leave, she increasingly turns to Jack for support, and to a dance instructor named Tris for love.

This is, as the title would suggest, a dark book. If the Beebo Brinker books in general are about the joy of discovering that even in the 1950s gay people were not completely alone, that other lesbians and even lesbian communities did exist, Women in the Shadows is about Bannon's realization that these communities had their own serious problems, and Bannon says as much in the introduction to the 2002 edition. This is a transitional book; if the story arc of the four main books (excluding the prequel) is considered as a whole, this is the low point before things start looking better for Laura and Beebo (and Beth) in the final volume. ( )
  lorax | Mar 17, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 157344149X, Paperback)

Designated the “Queen of Lesbian Pulp” for her series of landmark novels beginning in 1957, Ann Bannon defined lesbian fiction for the pre-Stonewall generation. Following the release of Cleis Press’s new editions of Beebo Brinker and Odd Girl Out, Women in the Shadows finds Laura in love among the lesbian bohemia of Greenwich Village. This edition features a new introduction by the author. “Sex. Sleaze. Depravity. Oh, the twisted passions of the twilight world of lesbian pulp fiction.” — Chicago Free Press “Shameless tales of wanton dyke lust are finally unveiled!” — Out magazine

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:47:47 -0400)

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