Idea/Concept: This book is the author’s account of her discovery and acceptance, after decades of a conventional marriage and motherhood, that she is gay. She recounts the story of her life—lived from a traditional middle-class upbringing in the mid-twentieth century, through a marriage to a husband ill-suited to her, and her eventual encounter with her true life partner—with affecting honesty.
Prose: Despite the occasional overly dramatic passages, the candor with which Simmons describes her life and relationships is highly engaging. She comes across as relatable and sympathetic as she navigates tumultuous life experiences—the loss of loved ones, the foundering of her marriage, the acceptance of an identity different from the one that steered her for most of her life—with a strong sense of self-awareness.
Originality: The author’s coming-out story is decidedly her own, while it will resonate strongly with readers in similar circumstances.
Execution: This is a well-crafted and authentic memoir about discovering and embracing a personal truth. The author writes meaningfully about her growth, evolution, and awakening to her true identity.
Date Submitted: January 30, 2020
Lately Lesbian by J. D. Simmons is an interesting memoir with lesbian themes. Jenna marries Paul and believes she has found the man of her life. She is the normal, traditional life, living for her husband and looking forward to stability in the future. When her life is rocked she looks towards her husband for support. But Paul is distant and aloof. That is until Jenna meets a young and beautiful woman. As her longing begins to grow, she starts feeling different. Has she always masked her real feelings? Is she made to be with a man, or is there a deeper, a more real part of her that she must allow to emerge? Follow her love odyssey as she journeys home to herself, redefining herself, and giving a name to her deepest desires and passions.
This is an interesting story that explores the theme of romance and a woman's journey to embracing and accepting herself. J.D. Simmons doesn't just write well; she also has a gift for listening to her heart and this aspect of the writing makes it easy for readers to relate to her, to understand her world, and see clearly the path she's walked. The memoir is filled with lessons on inner freedom and authenticity, a story that shows readers how social norms and conventions can keep us prisoners of a culture that doesn't serve us any longer. The writing is confident and the narrative voice consistent and clear. Lately Lesbian is engrossing and I enjoyed the way the author explores the landscapes of her heart, becoming vulnerable in the narrative and infusing it with humanity and realism.