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Lesbian Crushes at School: A Diary on Growing Up Gay in the Eighties Paperback – 23 Jul 2014
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About the Author
Probably the most prolific diary writer in the history of the world, I have been obsessively recording my crushes on females since the age of fourteen. I currently clock up half a million words per year, but never let on to the woman I'm dating that I jot down everything she says and does. I LOVED my all-girls public school. Apart from mercilessly hounding Miss Williams, with whom I fell in love at first sight at the age of twelve, I was a model pupil. In my early twenties I swapped my Latin homework for drug-taking and squatting. Having sported an 'I LOVE MISS WILLIAMS' tattoo on my left wrist for eleven years, I finally tired of the inane questions it encouraged and got a cover-up in 1999. I'm a list-writing geek and a drummer. I play table tennis and make my own beer. I am not a stalker anymore.
Top customer reviews
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On compulsion... the author is obsessive-compulsive. These diary entries come from her handwritten (in code) edited diaries. They are stark, honest, often funny, sometimes disturbing, but ultimately a gift. There are readers who will identify with the author - we probably all do to an extent, because teenage crushes are rarely rational - and these words offer some consolation in knowing 'it wasn't just me'.
As the author's bio says, she was a model pupil at school- "Apart from mercilessly hounding Miss Williams, with whom I fell in love at first sight at the age of twelve" - and a gifted one:
Saw something on TV that claimed that obsession falls between love and insanity. That's genius.
She really is a genius when it comes to modern European languages, the learning of which she approaches with the same 'commitment' she does everything else, which is not limited to Miss Williams.
Kissing is my second favourite occupation in the world.
Third is listening to my favourite music.
First is looking at Miss Williams.
It was about the worst kiss I've ever had.
For a second I loved him.
Whilst there is some physical/romantic attraction to boys, there is no sexual attraction, and the author identifies as lesbian (as per the book title), although really, there is only one love interest in this and the second book (which she released first) and the rest of her interpersonal relationships are chaotic.
All in all, I found this an interesting read, on both a personal and social scientific level. It's certainly a unique account of adolescence during an era when gender and sexual identities were in semi-disarray.
However for Natasha her crush takes on a life of its own. What begins as harmless admiration verges on almost stalkerish obsession as Natasha's love of her school teacher soon starts to take over her life.
At the beginning Natasha is like any teen discovering herself and her own sexuality, and Miss Williams soon becomes the person and subject in which Natasha chooses to direct her frustrations and confusing feelings towards.
And like with many teen crushes Natasha probably reads more into Miss William's interactions with her as more than simple polite responses.
The first few diary entries reflect how Natasha doesn't react well to no longer having Miss William's as her French teacher.
However it's Natasha's dedication to continue her fantasy with Miss William's from studying extra languages for A levels(which is admirable) to deciding to pursue the same career as her and in turn applying for the exact same course in Miss William's previous university. This starts to raise questions about her behaviour and sexuality from school staff and her own peers.
Time and distance doesn't seem to quell Natasha's emotions for Miss Wiliams if anything it heightens them.
The reader is left gripped wondering how far Natasha will go to earn Miss Williams' attention and affections.
Lesbian Crushes at School is the novel for anyone who has gone through the heartbreak of unrecopricated love but also the reality of growing up and making the frightening transition from the fun filled days of school to the confusing state of entering "adulthood" in university.
Lesbian Crushes & Bulimia was a life changing book for me, the most relatable thing I've ever read and incredibly powerful as a result. One of the reasons Lesbian Crushes at School didn't match up was likely because the focus shifted away from Natasha's eating disorder. That is NOT the fault of the author and I would hate to put anyone off reading Lesbian Crushes at School because of it. One thing to be aware of is that these books DO read like the diaries of a young teen. Don't go into it expecting something so heavily edited by an "adult" mind that it reads like a grown woman reminiscing about being a teenager. It's one of the book's strongest points in my opinion, but some people might be put off by the unusual layout and writing style. The Kindle version is very cheap but if you're unsure, read a sample first. I was lucky enough to be sent a free copy in exchange for a (now long overdue) review.
I'll definitely keep reading anything Natasha writes and I'm always going to be a fan, even if this book didn't quite match up to Lesbian Crushes and Bulimia for me. It was a great read, and if anyone else is unsure of whether to read it due to the focus shifting away from disordered eating, I recommend that you do! It's well worth seeing how things took shape in the years before the events of the previous book, and finally "meeting" Miss Williams is unmissable - she was already so familiar that I felt like I was being introduced to a distant relative ;-)
Read this book. Read everything Natasha Holmes puts out, because her honesty and authenticity is incredibly refreshing and valuable.
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by Natasha Holme
Wow what a story.Read more
I read Ms Holme's first book, Lesbian Crushes and Bulimia: A Diary on How I Acquired my...Read more