Review: Dorothy Allison’s “Trash”

I waved this at KG in an opshop, and behold, she bought it and I could reread it once she was done. (Thankfully, she’d enjoyed it.) I particularly remembered ‘A Lesbian Appetite’, where Allison traces her girlfriends through the history of their shared meals. It’s a great story, been anthologised in lesbian and women’s titles all over the place.

I found this book pretty dazzling on the first read, probably because I was delighted to read a good, proud book about dykes and about being white trash. The activist in me loved it, and her writing wasn’t half-bad either. This time, I didn’t enjoy it as much. Allison has so much rage she needs to spell out – about being raped, about being poor, about defending her lesbianism, about her rage. Waves of anger lap with the pain, the sex, the hurt, and they leave some of Allison’s life upon the shore. This book is important in terms of dejando constancia (leaving a record) of lives and worlds which are not written about enough. I’m glad it’s out there, she writes well.

Where it came from: KG’s Bookshelf (well, I did talk her into buying it for herself then shamelessly borrowed it)
Time taken to read: Two or three doses of bed-nights
Where it went to: Back home
Reminds me of: the swathe of well-meaning novels by women from Greenham Comon
Who I’d recommend it to: Someone needing to broaden their view of Southern US culture, or dyke culture
Also reading: “The Heart of the Matter” by Graham Greene; “The Blind Eye” by Georgia Blain; “Cold Comfort Farm” by Stella Gibbons; “Gertrude” by Hermann Hesse; “The Mountain” by Kate Llewellyn

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