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Crybaby Butch Paperback – 1 Nov 2004

3.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Firebrand Books (Nov. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1563411431
  • ISBN-13: 978-1563411434
  • Product Dimensions: 14.4 x 2.3 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,783,782 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

About the Author

Judith Frank is a winner of the Astraea Foundation's Emerging Lesbian Writer's Fund prize in fiction. A professor of English at Amherst College, she lives and writes in western Massachusetts.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This novel follows the lives of Chris, an older 'illiterate' butch, and Anna, her younger (and softer) butch teacher. It effectively demonstrates the difficulties and isolation experienced by Chris in her life, and how things are a little easier for the younger generation of butches. I had not thought much about what it would feel like to be unable to read, and reading "Crybaby butch" certainly brought home to me how disabling it would be.

Much mention is made of "Stone butch blues" by Leslie Feinberg, and indeed this book could be considered a sequel to it. "Crybaby butch" is a more rewarding read if you are first familiar with "Stone butch blues".
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very dense...........hard going in other words. In my opinion it got lost and did not link back easily and left thinking I wish she just got on with the main story as it became boring.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program) 4.7 out of 5 stars 6 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Judith Frank is an amazing writer and this debut novel has totally been underrated 4 Dec. 2014
By x282834 - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Riveting read. Judith Frank is an amazing writer and this debut novel has totally been underrated. Sadly, stories about lesbians have traditionally not been as popular as gay male storylines, so I'm really glad I stumbled on this book totally by chance. The book is about two butch lesbians from drastically different socioeconomic backgrounds whose lives intersect briefly. I actually like that it didn't end in some predictable happily ever after or heartbreak trajedy. I thought the story seemed quite realistic - sometimes our lives are just blah with little ups and downs and its totally okay to have an ordinary life. Not everyone gets to have an epic love story. What matters is that we have the space to be ourselves.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Novel 22 April 2009
By Lee - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Frank is a fresh, innovative voice in literature today. Her narrative style was refreshing and different, but flowed easily in the mind of the reader. Her characters were complex and Frank did not make it her obligation to make the characters any more glorified or flawed than they seemed to be in her minds eye. Chris and Anna are very different people, and are very much a product of both the time and place they were born, as we all are. What connects them is truly the way the heterosexual world perceives "women like them".
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book 26 Aug. 2007
By E. Darling - Published on
Format: Paperback
I have recently learned that authors as well as potential buyers read these reviews. I enjoyed this book very much as would like to both recommend it to anyone who is looking for a good read and share with the author (should she ever come across this review) what I `like best' about her work.

I loved this book. A good book has to make you think and feel and Crybaby Butch does both. I especially appreciated this book because I came across it the day after I finished my comps in grad school and was looking for a non-academic book to read (my first in over two years because of schoolwork!!). So, in my defense - this review reflects my experience of the book as both an academic and as a `real' person.

The topic of butch identity is explored according to socio-economic status in a very capable and insightful manner. The author illustrates how upper/middle class and working class butches evaluate themselves and one another - and is able to articulate in a respectful manner what they think they "have over" the other and the ways they feel the other can make them feel small. The lifestyle, challenges, and opportunities associated with their socio-economic status drive the plot in many ways. Although the author does not call for the reader to analyze how SES bounds our lives, we do anyway as we come to care about each of the main characters.

The characters are complex and realistic - I didn't always like Anna or Chris but I respected their attempts to grow and do well in their lives. I was not able to anticipate many of the choices and feelings of these characters - making them seem all the more real.

My only complaint is that the author is not able to really capture the femme spirit as well as she is able to bring to life butch identity. I find that if I did not know that Gladys and Kathleen had a butch woman as their life partner, I would read them as straight women. Even if I did not know the gender or identity of their lovers or partners, I would still know Anna and Chris as butch women.

In all honesty - this small complaint did not really detract from the storyline or diminish my enjoyment of the book. If the author was able to portray her femme characters as richly and realistically as the butch protagonists I think I would have been truly beside myself with satisfaction. As it stands - I cannot wait to read her next work!!
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars horrible femmes 9 Nov. 2007
By Melissa K. Heckman - Published on
Format: Paperback
I have read this book three times, and i cannot get past how horrible the femmes characters are! I want to like this book, but i find Anna to be wimpy and whiney and kind of annoying, and the femmes- THE FEMMES!! Chris's partner is so mean and horrible about Chris, and Anna blames her sexual shyness on her ex-girlfriend (a femme who is apparently less helpful about Anna's need to be thrown down than Star, the non femme Anna starts dating). Gladys is never developed past being this nurturing femme who cares for the butches in her life and gave up her dreams because she loved butches... possibly and interesting story, but left without development, because Gladys really has no purpose in this book beyond her nurturing. Right. Anna's femme friend has potential, but she's so wishy washy- i really just wanted her to tell Anna to shut up. At first i thought maybe there was going to be some commentary about the ways that femmes are viewed in butch/femme communities, or the stereotypes tha butches and femmes can have about one another. But instead the butches get to be broadened into fully rounded characters, and the femmes remain one demensional. And vile.

i really wanted to get into the relationship betwen the young overeducated white brianiac butch and the older working class butch who's trying to learn to read, and there are times in the book where i really was involved in the differences between these two characters. I liked that Chris was not particularly sympathetic, but i couldn't help being drawn to her as she struggles with how vulnerable she feels in learning to read and being stuck with her mean bitch of a girlfriend. I had a really hard time liking Anna though, maybe because the author uses her to try to discuss the issues of race and class that a white middle class adult education teacher would face in a classroom of working class people who are mostly of color. Anna struggles a lot in this book, and to be fair, it's hard to write about these personal struggles and not come up with a character who is whiney.

But, after all of my complaining, i think that this book is worth reading, if only because it is one of the few butch/femme books that i have read that attempts to deal with the divide between generations of butch and femme, which is think is real and palpable in our communities. Just be aware, as you read, of the ways that femmes are characterized in this book, and Please! remember that most of us are not so horrid and boring- at least not all of the time!
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Completely absorbing 22 Jan. 2005
By Anne Laughlin - Published on
Format: Paperback
Once I moved beyond Chapter One, written in the second person, I found this book completely absorbing. I fretted over the characters when I had to leave the book to go to work (how annoying - work, I mean). I found the exploration of butch culture fascinating, and the difficulty of the older butch's life almost unbearable to read about. It's hard to imagine what life would be like looking like a stone butch in a society that scorned (scorns) that identity, coupled with the unbelievable alienation of being illiterate in our society. My partner and I talked about the book for hours. She read it after I did and I kept interrupting her to ask "what's happening now?" Beautifully written. As much as I worried about Chris and Anna, I also found the book wonderfully entertaining, filled with rich characters, lots of humor, wonderful insights. I feel fortunate to have read it.
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