As a late-blooming, sexually-confused college senior, Audrey Beth Stein was looking for love, but she never expected it to arrive via email, from someone she first knew only as email@example.com...
It was 1996. A time when the Indigo Girls had just performed their first explicitly gay songs, Ellen DeGeneres was preparing to come out on national television, and Tinder and OkCupid did not yet exist. A time when being queer was just a little bit easier than admitting you’d met someone through the internet.
Offering layers of introspection and insight reminiscent of Curtis Sittenfeld’s Prep and Cheryl Strayed’s Tiny Beautiful Things, this coming-of-age memoir combines the page-turning exuberance of falling in love for the first time, the disorienting clarity of loss, and the triumph of letting go of the training wheels.
Plot/Idea: In this highly impactful memoir, the author takes readers on her journey to self-discovery. The read is easy, but never simplistic. With subtlety and narrative prowess, Stein conveys complex circumstances, poignant moments, and powerful emotions.
Prose: The author's prose is smooth and approachable, while her voice is candid, gently humorous, and intimate. Readers will have no trouble becoming fully immersed in the storytelling.
Originality: While this work of memoir is fairly straightforward in its approach and doesn't take significant narrative risks, Stein's work stands apart for its sense of immediacy, honest emotion, and genuine exploration of queer identity.
Character/Execution: Map is a finely crafted coming-of-age story. The author emerges as a fully formed individual who develops meaningfully throughout the work. The conclusion to the story is somewhat abrupt; readers may be left wanting even more.
Date Submitted: October 01, 2022