I was lucky enough to receive an Advance Release Copy of Pulp through a giveaway on Goodreads, and I am so glad I did.
I’ve heard it said that LGBT people are born with a disadvantage when it comes to their history. While it isn’t necessarily true for everyone, most LGBT people are born to parents who are heterosexual and cisgender. This means that if we want to know the history of people like us, we have to go looking for it. We have to seek it out.
This book is our history.
From the start, the style of this book is perfectly conceived. Pulp follows two young women living in drastically different times, but whose lives parallel each other in beautiful and unexpected ways.
Janet has just finished high school in 1955 when she comes across a book that changes her world. The lesbian pulp novel shows her that women like her (women who are attracted to other women) exist out in the world. Suddenly her feelings towards her best friend make sense. But the time and place she lives in isn’t safe for lesbians to life openly, and if Janet isn’t careful she will put both herself and her friend in danger.
In 2017, Abby’s personal life seems to be falling apart. Her parents are fighting, her ex girlfriend just wants to be friends, and Abby can’t seem to focus on her schoolwork. When she comes across a website about lesbian pulp novels of the 1950’s and 60’s, Abby finds more than just a topic for her senior project. She finds inspiration to write her own novel. And she finds herself obsessed with finding out what happened to Marian Love, the author of Abby’s favorite of the novels, who only ever wrote one book.
The two young women’s stories are remarkably similar across so many years. Both feel adrift in their lives. And both find themselves swept up in the world of pulp fiction. Their stories seem to circle each other, spiraling inward towards some unknown but inevitable meeting point. Robin Talley’s writing skill is so established at this point that it shouldn’t have been a surprise to me just how well she crafted Janet and Abbey’s stories. But this particular book is so beautifully written that it reads like a revelation.
Pulp is an absolute must read for anyone interested in the history of LGBT people in America, especially as it relates to publishing and the lavender scare. I cannot recommend it enough.
Find this book on: Goodreads