- 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)
Crybaby Butch Paperback – 1 Nov 2004
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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.
Top Customer Reviews
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".
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)
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!!
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!