ForeWord Reviews

great books independent voices

Our History In New York

Foreword Review — Mar / Apr 1999

Even if one has been born and raised in the glitzy lights of New York City, this newest novel by Abrams shares a side and history of New York that can only be experienced through the eyes of her character, Chloe. Chloe is a professor of drama at a women’s university who looks back on her twenties and thirties—when living in New York’s theater community as a lesbian. She shares her life as it evolves into the 1990s; using moments of introspection, daydreaming and recollections to enlighten the reader on eras gone by. In these moments of introspection one is struck by how the past has formed each individual, community and society as a whole.

By drawing readers into characters? lives, Abrams is then able to gently place before them the larger issues of life and death. She tackles the issue of AIDS with her character Rodger, who will most likely die from his alcoholism first. Abrams doesn’t drop AIDS in our lap as some societal moral responsibility, but takes the much more human approach by confronting our emotions as she writes of the lives that have been touched, transformed and lost due to this deadly disease. She also addresses the everyday issues that confront gays as they try to live life as normally as other members of society: gay/lesbian teens, pregnancy by insemination, running for political office, the highs and lows of aging and romance in a society still struggling with the concept of acceptance.

Abrams? introspections, shared through her character Chloe, are sparingly dispersed, but deeply impacting. In the chapter “Gay Pride,” Chloe is reflecting on the difficulties of relationships a beautiful lesbian friend has experienced. She is remembering how this beautiful woman always seems to be left by her lovers when society seems to think beautiful people have a much easier time at romance. Chloe concludes: “With women, the same as with men, good looks tend to up the ante, and there’s even more vitriol when someone doesn’t turn out to be the fantasy. Because no one ever is, over time. Because, actually, the fantasy isn’t about the other. It’s about yourself.”

Abrams? book is a clean recount of everyday living, showing that any gay or lesbian’s life resembles the norm of society. She has two previously acclaimed novels, Double Vision and Charting by the Stars, and has also written and published numerous stories, essays and reviews.

Michele McDonald