The journey of coming out and understanding who you are is different for everyone and in this collected work of non-fiction Candace Walsh and Barbara Straus Lodge share the stories of a number of women who found themselves leaving heterosexual relationships as they learned to embrace their own truths. Greetings from Janeland: Women Write More About Leaving Men for Women is a follow up work to Dear John, I Love Jane, which was published in 2010, and provides even more stories of coming out. Each of these women has such a diverse story to tell and this book will show you that no matter what your story, you are not alone.
Greetings from Janeland examines tremendous life changes that a number of women went through during their lives. Each of their stories is so unique, but within them there is the uniting thread of coming out, to both yourself and to those around you, as someone who loves women. This though does not mean that every woman is currently with a partner or has even remained with a woman after they felt spurred on their quest to embrace their identity. There are women from all walks of life within this book, those who are in committed relationships with women, those who while having dated women following their coming out have found themselves in a long term relationship with a man, and there are even those who discuss still finding a relationship and continuing to work through their feelings even now.
I admittedly do not often read non-fiction, but the subject of Greeting from Janeland immediately captivated me. In October of this year I officially came out to my parents as bisexual and even posted an article concerning my coming out, as well as the coming out of my very close friend. My own journey felt very closely tied to many of the stories I read within this work and this made me feel as though I had come home in a sense. I saw some of my own doubts and anxieties, which had kept me from being open with people. “Seeking My Whiptail Clan” by Emily Withnall resonated with me through her discussion of feeling divided between communities. I also live in a small town and have very few in person friends, there is also no queer community within my area that I can communicate with. While I have had the benefit of finding a clan per say online and having friends who understand and accept me, I often feel as though I am not able to share my true self in all situations, solely because I am not close to many people where I live. I would love to find my own in person community, but am still waiting, just like Withnall is. I also tremendously enjoyed Trish Bendix’s “When Did You Know?”. Bendix writes about those moments where you may have thought that you were attracted to someone of the same sex, but pushed those thoughts aside because it didn’t feel as though it could be an option. Her examination of doubt and embedded heteronormative behavior led me to think deeply about some moments in my life that I had not considered in a very long time.
While I am only focusing on those two stories, the entire collection of Greetings from Janeland is exceptional and is so wonderfully done that once you start reading it you won’t be able to put it down. I would recommend this book to anyone, regardless of their sexual identity, and believe that it is an important work that shows how no matter what your journey, you will eventually find yourself.
You can find Greetings from Janeland on sale now.
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