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Letter to Emily: A Memoir (Paperback)
This exceptional little memoir takes in an incredible sweep of experience. Structured around the reading list for the first course in Gay and Lesbian Literature taught by the author, Jody uses wit and a deeply humane sensitivity to show how those students (and re-encountering the readings) helped her confront a life time of secrecy. While the recollections range from joy and adventure to pain and sorrow, the overarching message of this well-crafted book is a one of hope.— Chris
Addressed to Emily Dickinson, who knew more than most what it is like to have a secret life, Marilyn Jody's memoir expresses the double edged sword of loving someone deeply and forever, yet never being able to speak aloud the beautiful reality of that love.
The author, a teacher of literature, decides to offer a class on gay and lesbian writers and then finds she must search her own soul, endure more than one crisis, and openly tell her own story in response to Emily Dickinson's poem "This is My Letter to the World." In telling that story so honestly here, she moves us to hear with new understanding the poem's closing line: "Judge tenderly of me."
Jody understands the desperation that comes from a fear of disclosure on the one hand and, on the other, the humiliation of having to hide from others. This memoir shows the power of the human spirit, inherent in these two women, to prevail against adversity while it also reveals the cruel effects of homophobia on them and on others.
Letter to Emily is not a celebrity tell all. It is about the daily heroism of ordinary people, who happen to be gay, swimming against a tide of myth, misinformation and social pressure, all in the effort to live ordinary lives.
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