Posts Tagged ‘historically accurate’

Stuck Rubber Baby

August 8, 2012

Author:  Howard Cruse

Title: Stuck Rubber Baby

Genre: Historical Fiction. Gay Fiction. Graphic Novel

Publisher/Publication Date:  DC Comics, 2010

Number of Pages:  210  (Black & White)

Geographical Setting: The fictional city of Clayfield, in the American South

Time Period:  Late 1950s, early 1960s

Plot Summary:  This is the story of Toland, a homosexual man coming to terms with his sexuality in a time when even greater tensions were being explored in the American deep south, that is, African-American civil rights.  Toland is a complex, apathetic man who is desperately trying to be “normal” by saying that his gay thoughts are “just a phase” and by dating a political activist woman named Ginger.  Toland’s world explores the horrifying issues of the time through intense dialogue, disturbing images, and hateful language expressed by the KKK and the more subtle racism of his family members.  Drawn in a realistic, riveting style, Howard Cruse does a fantastic job of creating a city that the reader can instantly recognize as being in the south, yet is entirely fictional.  Indeed, the entire graphic novel reads as if it were an autobiography of sorts.  Still, despite the complex issues being discussed, the novel finds time to enlighten the reader with jazz and blues facts of the time, contains humor, and is very candid and not didactic when discussing sexual issues.

Subject Headings:  Civil Rights–American South–Inter-racial Relationships–Homosexual Issues–Jim Crow Laws–KKK–Politics–Adoption–Abortion–Lynchings–Jazz–Blues–Gay Bars–Drag Queens–Hammond Organs–Religion–Atheism–Alcoholism

Appeal: Striking, Realistic, Brutal, Warm, Angry, Sympathetic, Complex, Political, Violent, Insightful, Serious, Sad, Soulful, Grim, Candid, Blunt, Intense, Dramatic

3 Appeal terms that best describe this book:  Serious, Candid, Realistic

3 Similar Non-Fiction works and authors:

Fun Home.  Alison Bechdel

This graphic novel is the memoir of Alison Bechdel, popular GLBT author of the comic Dykes to Watch out For.  One can tell Bechdel is a fan of Cruse’s work (she admits so in the introduction to Stuck Rubber Baby), and her style is similar in that her story is reflective, redemptive, and very moving.  Fun Home is the story of Alison coming to terms with her father admitting he is homosexual as well late in his life.  The story is complex, but it is also humorous at times, and very compelling in tone.  A must in GLBT graphic novels, and literature in general.

Heroes of Blues, Jazz, and Country.  Robert Crumb

Those who have read Stuck Rubber Baby will inevitably notice Cruse’s devotion to two things: drawing everything in pain-staking detail, and his obsession with the history of Jazz and Rhythm and Blues music.  Robert Crumb’s drawings have always been drawn in a realistic style as well, and this graphic novel is a fun history of said musicians that many people may not be aware of.  Bios of the musicians are provided as well, along with full color photographs.

Juicy Mother: Celebration.  Jennifer Camper

This collection of  GLBT stories describes itself as “an alternative-to-alternative comics.”  What is most intriguing about this graphic novel is that every contributor is either GLBT, or a person of color.  The stories range for the serious to the silly, including such stories as an Arab Muslim lesbian searching for her identity to a Latina teen’s goofy encounter with aliens.  Both touching and bizarre, comical and insightful, there is a story in this collection that will appeal to all readers!

3 Similar Fiction works and authors:

Strangers in Paradise Pocket Book, Vol. 1.  Terry Moore

Katchoo is a beautiful young woman who is in love with her best friend, Francine.  Then along comes David, who Katchoo falls in love with as well.  What results in a complicated love triangle this is both complex and amusing.  Though not as serious as Cruse’s work, readers will love getting to know these sympathetic characters as the develop and change over time.  And, just when everything seems to be going well, the mob decides to but in!  Truly interesting and leisurely paced like Cruse’s work.

A Single Man.  Christopher Isherwood

Stuck Rubber Baby is told in a flashback format from Toland’s point of view, reminiscing about growing up gay in the American South.  Though this fictional work takes place is a different part of the country, Isherwood’s protagonist George is sympathetic, nice, gay, and leads a surprisingly poignant, yet sad life.  After the death of his partner, George must learn to survive in a world where he a complete outsider, both internally and externally.  Comical and very wry, this examination of what it means to be homosexual in the modern world is incredibly moving.

Tales of the City (#1)  Armistead Maupin

These are the tales of the many denizens of 28 Barbary Lane, some straight, some not, but always hilarious, intricate, and fun.  This is the latest incarnation of the popular serial that later became a popular television event.  The tone is indeed a lot different from Cruse’s work, but the humor and attention to realistic details and colorful characters is there.  Striking and bold, witty and quite entertaining.


An Unlikely Countess

October 25, 2011

Author: Jo Beverly

Title: An Unlikely Countess

Genre: Historical Romance

Publication Date: March 1, 2011

Number of Pages: 432

Geographical Setting: Yorkshire, England

Time Period:  Georgian Era, 1765

Series (If applicable): 11th Novel of the Malloren World

Plot Summary: On a dark night Catesby Burgoyne encounters Prudence Youlgrave and he saves her from a few ruffians.  Their encounter was not just chance.  They parted ways the next morning but they did not easily forget each other.  Both were down on their luck and not on the best terms with their families. Catesby is 2nd in line to become the Earl of Malzard and while Prudence’s family is not wealthy by any means, she feels her brother owes her for her sacrifices.  Catesby discovers that his brother, the current Earl, has died and he heads home to take on his duties as the new Earl.  Prudence heads to her brother’s home and encourages his new bride to assist her in finding a good marriage match.  Prudence is to wed a wealthy business man, but of course she never forgot Catesby and he never forgot her.  While he was supposed to be learning his duties as the new Earl he runs off to find Prudence.  Again they meet on what was to be Prudence’s wedding day, what ensues is a romantic, yet witty adventure of two once down and out people who become the unlikely Earl and Countess of Malzard.

Subject Headings: Historical Romances; Georgian England; 18th Century England

Appeal: witty, engaging, complex characters, captivating plot, delightful, fast-paced, romantic, playful, sensual, historically accurate, gentle, character-centered

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: romantic, engaging, delightful

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

1)     Aristocratic Century: the Peerage of Eighteenth-Century England by Jon Cannon – Using parts of a lecture he gave in 1982, Professor Cannon outlines the ways in which the aristocracy of the 18th century was widely accepted by all levels of society which allowed for coherence in all aspects of life, intellectual, political and social.  A non-fiction read-alike choice for An Unlikely Countess because many of the characters were part of the aristocracy and the novel discussed the lives and rules surrounding the aristocracy.

2)     Behind Closed Doors: at home in Georgian England by Amanda Vickery – Professor Vickery uses her skills as a historian to deliver a well-researched account of the family and gender relations / roles of Georgian England.  Although a historian she has written a witty and vivid work, which is almost novel-like.  Using books, journals, letters, etc, she paints a picture of Georgian life that has not been seen before.  Similar to An Unlikely Countess in that we get a behind the scenes look at the domestic lives and relationships of the aristocracy of the Georgian period in the novel and this book also depicts that life in more depth. (well-researched, witty, vivid)

3)     English Society in he Eighteenth Century by Roy Porter – In this non-fiction work Porter portrays all aspects of 18th century from politics to work life, to sex.  It is a fact-filled, but delightful and witty account of life including all levels of society from prices to paupers and from the streets of London to the hamlets of Yorkshire. Non-fiction read-alike for An Unlikely Countess because it discusses the different aspects of life in the 18th century which is the time in which the characters live. (Fact-filled, witty, delightful)

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

1)     Some Enchanted Evening by Christina Dodd – Clarice and her two sisters flee from their small country during a revolution are being tracked by assassins.  However, Clarice hides in plain site by selling cosmetics to townswomen and pretends to be a fallen princess.  Robert Mackenzie, the Earl of Hepburn, knows that Clarice is not a princess and is just playing a part.  He invites her to his manor, she accepts, his plan is to use her acting skills in a plot of revenge.  Danger and adventure ensue.  This is the first in a trilogy about the 3 sisters.  This is a read-alike for An Unlikely Countess because it is a historical romance and although it is set during the Regency era and not the Georgian, it is still a good match due to the humor and sensuality used.  (steamy, humorous, detailed)

2)     Dangerous in Diamonds by Madeline Hunter – In the fourth Rarest Blooms Regency romance by Hunter, we encounter Daphne Joyes who runs a modest flower business, which also acts as a place of refuge for women in need of safety.  Daphne’s landlord soon dies and she meets Tristan, Duke of Castleford who inherits the land.  Tristan is instantly taken with Daphne, but she resists and a story of passionate arguments, flirtation and eventual romance. Although this is a Victorian romance, it is similar to An Unlikely Countess in that it is a witty, richly detailed, historical romance. (steamy, descriptive, witty)

3)     Wicked Intentions by Elizabeth Hoyt – Temperance Dews is a widow who spends her time helping children.  Lord Caire is on the hunt for a killer in the slums which are so familiar to Temperance.  The two strike a deal that will allow Temperance to guide Caire through the alleys and slums while Caire will introduce Temperance to high society so that she might find a benefactor for the orphanage.  A romance and passion soon blossoms from what began as a business deal and danger is around every corner.  Similar to An Unlikely Countess as it is a fast-paced, detailed, historical romance set in Georgian England.  (steamy, descriptive, Georgian)

Name: Michelle Worthington