Before Stonewall, having a drink with friends or your girl could mean jail.
In 1961, The Old Town Tavern is more than just a gay bar. It’s a home to strangers who have become family. Murph, the dapper unschooled storyteller. Rockie Solomon, the gentle, generous observer. Lisa Jelane, in all her lonely dignity. Gorgeous Paul, so fragile, and his twin (straight?) sister Cissy. Deej, the angry innocent. Norman, plump and queenly lover of a college professor who’s happiest in schoolmarm drag. Harry Van Epps, police officer, and old Dr. Everett, “family” physician. They drink, they dance, they fall in lust and in love. They don’t even know who the enemy is, only that it is powerful enough to order the all-too-willing vice squad to destroy the bar and their lives.
Would these women and men still have family, a job, a place to live after The Raid?
This was how it was done then, this was the gay life, and this is the resilient gay will.
|Publisher:||Bold Strokes Books|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.70(d)|
About the Author
Lee Lynch has been proudly writing lesbian stories since the 1960s when she was a frequent contributor to The Ladder, the only lesbian publication at the time. Since then she has published a dozen books, her stories have appeared in a number of anthologies, and she has written reviews and feature articles for The Lambda Book Report and many other publications. Her syndicated column, “The Amazon Trail,” has been running since 1986.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Rp another character. Haahahahaaha
Every movement needs its historians, especially those who were in the actual vanguard of the activities. People need to remember what came before them so that they can appreciate what they have because new generations tend to take what they have for granted and forget the struggles that led to their situation. Lee Lynch is a name that belongs in the same category as Andrew Young and Jesse Jackson, Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem, Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta. She was in the gay rights movement before the infamous Stonewall riots and can speak to those struggles as the others can to civil rights, feminism and the Latino labor movement. The Raid is the story of the Old Towne Tavern, an establishment in a part of a Massachusetts town that has seen better days. As the neighborhood has transformed so has the bar that caters to people who work and live in the area, especially the gay community. Although not billed as a “gay bar,” that is who makes up most of its clientele. The cast is large – Murph, who has a story for everything and a hopeless love for a woman from her past; elegant Lisa; Rocky, the mild mannered narrator; Deej, the newly minted lesbian who isn’t sure how to fit in; the queenly Norm, who owns the bar with his closeted college professor boyfriend; and an assortment of friends, gay and straight. Early in the book there is a police raid on the tavern that is brutal. The rest of the book shows how these characters deal with their feelings about the event and how it changed their lives. Anyone who is familiar with the events in 1969 at the Stonewall Inn in New York will recognize what happens at the tavern in the story. The value of the book comes for those who don’t remember. Lynch captures perfectly the fear of discovery that gays lived with and their difficulty in knowing who they could trust. This was the time when homosexuality was still considered a crime and a mental disease. Gay people had no rights and could lose their homes, their families and their freedom quite easily. The changes going on so quickly in the US now obscure just how recently ago things were very different. One of the most poignant themes of the book is how gays have always formed “families of choice” because they couldn’t rely on their blood families for support. There is a drawback to the book however. The old saying is that an author should write what he or she knows. What should be added to that is the caution that an author shouldn’t over write either and Lynch does some of that. Lynch has a message to impart, but she can’t seem to do it and move on. There is episode after episode pointing out basically the same thing; it was difficult and dangerous to be a homosexual in the early 1960s and politicians often exploited them for their own aims. None of the characters are uniquely compelling or interesting, so the story seems to drag. A tighter framework might have made the story itself hold the reader’s attention more. The Raid is important because it creates a very powerful picture of the emotions, frustrations and political realities of the time. No one can read this book and not feel the fear of some of the characters radiating off of the pages. Because Lynch lived long enough, she’s also able to inject some hope into the story by having her characters wish for things that have now become possible. This book might better have been written as a straight work of history. That’s why it should be read. The fact that it’s written into a work of fiction makes it more palatable for readers who might not try it otherwise. Read it for the history though……………..and remember.