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(UN)MARRIED WOMEN – Bound Issue 4, Volume 1, Year 2010
Quotes from letters and e-mails I have received
“After years of frustration, repression, denial, and therapy, I read your book and came out to myself. Thank you for making everything so clear.”
“I felt you were reading my mind and feeling my heart… I smiled, cried, and chuckled through all of your book… I felt it was my book… I felt a part of every woman in there.”
“I would well up every time I agonized over telling my husband. The secret was killing me. My gayness’ was spilling out all over, and I was so frightened.”
“I felt the pain of all the women that contributed to your book, and I realized there is no right or wrong. Everyone is an individual who has to live with her own actions and decisions. It is so very complicated.”
“I derived so much strength from knowing that I was not alone. Thanks to you, that message rang loud and clear.”
“Thank you for realizing how many of us are out there feeling that we are the only ones. Thank you for having the courage to write your book.”
“I inhaled your book and painted it with a yellow highlighter as I read, related, and absorbed every last word.”
A Selection of Past Reviews
From Publisher’s Weekly:
In her first outing as an author as well as a self-avowed married woman who loves women, Strock offers a touching if ultimately unilluminating compilation of insights and information gleaned from herself and from many other women in the same complex situation. After spending decades cocooned in marriage, motherhood and a busy, brownie-making suburban lifestyle, Strock moved into New York City with her husband to begin the empty-nest chapter of her life. Completely unscripted, however, was how Strock fell in love with her best friend, Toby, and saw her old world blow apart as a consequence. The sting of rejection by Toby, coupled by the awakening of an entirely new desire, pulled Strock into the complicated process of coming out. Although Strock told her husband, her grown children and her closest friends of her dawning lesbianism, she and her husband decided to continue living together. Through dialogues with over 100 women contacted through ads and fliers, Strock here attempts to grapple with the difficult particulars of such a friendship. Not surprisingly, Strock’s subjects differ about how to balance love affairs and a marriage–and many live lives of quiet or noisy desperation. Why would the men stay? Love and habit, the handful of men interviewed concur. Strock’s work gives the impression that being a married lesbian is often a painful and uneasy compromise. Still, as the men and women here attest, love does find a way.
17 November 1997
From Kirkus Reviews:
Freelance writer Strock’s first book is a spotty though much-needed study of lesbian and bisexual women in heterosexual marriages. After 27 years of marriage, Strock fell in love with her best friend, Toby–a woman. Her feelings were unrequited, but they had irrevocable implications for her sexual identity, marriage, children, and way of life. In this book, part self-help for other married women who love women (MWLW), part sociological study, Strock, who is still married, combines personal narrative with over 100 interviews with MWLWs and their husbands and children. Many women choose to remain in heterosexual marriages even after discovering that they love women. Often, husband and wife stay together for the companionship or to provide a stable home for the children. The women’s coping strategies are diverse and intriguing. Rosalie lives with her husband, Jack; her lover, Brenda, lives just minutes away. Jack accepts Brenda’s importance to Rosalie and has even grown close to her himself; the three consider themselves a family. Another woman has been having a secret affair for over two decades. Some leave their marriages; others choose not to act on their feelings for women. The subject of married women dealing with lesbian desires has rarely been addressed in depth; Strock deserves praise for undertaking it and for eliciting such frank responses from her interviewees. Itisn’t always smooth reading, though; Strock’s writing style is stilted, and some of what she quotes from her subjects is incoherent. She also leaves us wondering about these women’s lovers. Clearly it’s easier if they’re also married, but what if they aren’t? Since Strock doesn’t interview them, their perspective is largely absent here. Still, a valuable look at how such conflicting human desires as change and stability, companionship and sex, commitment and passion, social acceptance and personal happiness are handled by one little-studied group.
1 November 1997
Married lesbians–a largely hidden population whose number is difficult to estimate–at last have a book about and for them. Strock has interviewed more than 100 women of diverse backgrounds and ranging in age from 21 to 70; 59 percent reported having no idea of their same-sex orientation before they were married. Initially undertaken as a way of dealing with her own life, which irrevocably changed when, after 27 happily married years, she fell in love with her best woman friend, her research grew to encompass husbands and children of the prime interviewees. She divides her report into three sections–“The Discovery,” “A New Life,” and “Selfhood”–tracking the stages of development of same-sex orientation from first awareness to learning the pros and cons of coming out to dealing with new levels of sexual intimacy. Collections concerned with gay and lesbian issues will find Strock’s effort a useful addition.
1 January 1998
(c) 1998 by the American Library Association.
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