Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden

A simple tale about a romance between two 17-year-olds who just happen to be girls. Liza and Annie, New York City girls, meet at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Liza's there for the architecture, Annie's in a secluded upstairs gallery, singing. The two girls lead very different lives: Liza goes to a private school and leads a quiet and protected (almost anachronistic) life; Annie, the artier and more fragile one, is working class and goes to a rough public school.

But their attraction is instantaneous.

They become fast friends. And then it seems like they are more than friends. But what is this? Liza is completely blindsided as she realizes that she has romantic feelings for Annie. The other girl has felt this, in a milder form, before. An unforgettable story about awakening romance in a hostile environment.

Anyone who has ever been a teenager in love will be able to relate to this story. Written over twenty years ago, this book is a regular contender on many most-challenged lists.

Bibliotherapeutic value: The innocent tameness of tale and the girls' relationship -- with a plot structure that's simply girl meets girl -- makes the hit-list reputation of this book seem a little ridiculous. For any reader, it's a strong reminder of how slapping a label on something can suddenly make something explosive.

Garden, Nancy, Annie on My Mind. New York: Farrar Straus & Giroux, 1992.

ISBN: 0374404135. $8.

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