I received a free digital copy from the editor, Jennifer Haupt, in exchange for an honest review.
Haupt contacted me through Goodreads and I am so glad she did. I feel so honored to have been asked to read such a complex, harrowing, beautiful, heartbreaking collection of stories.
GenPRIDE began in Seattle in 2015. It is a non-profit that devotes itself to the care, health, and well-being of older adults from the LGBTQIA+ community. GenPRIDE provides a safe and secure place for these adults to be able to come together to socialize, for recreational and educational purposes, even to exercise.
This book specifically came out of a month-long writing workshop held by GenPRIDE, its purpose to give this aging population a voice to share their lived experiences - some only doing so for the first time. I found this to be incredibly powerful, to have been a part of this just by reading, bearing witness, remembering, and keeping them close to my heart.
As often happens when sharing deeply personal life stories, a bond was formed and a community within the community formed. Together this group of fourteen authors supported one another, helping each other along however slowly or quickly one wished to travel, many finding healing that they'd needed for so long.
These stories do not simply explore how the lives of the authors were difficult or dangerous due solely to their gender or sexuality. They explore themes and situations anyone can relate to in some capacity. We are so much more alike than we are different and if everyone else could just wake up and see that, so many rifts in our society could be healed. The stories run the gamut of experiences. Some of the stories touch on topics very age-specific to these men and women, such as the AIDS crisis, or coming out in a time that was even less friendly than what we see today and the persecution that many faced as a result. Others focus on heartbreak, love, addiction, loss, and more. Every single person in the entire world can relate to these stories on one level or another, because there is also triumph, courage, resilience.
Again, I was incredibly honored to read this moving and poignant collection. I hope there will be another volume in the future.