Lovely book about growing up different without having the words for why you’re not like others. This is a short book that you could blaze through in a few hours. I liked that the writer didn’t designate whether it’s a memoir, novel, linked short-stories, fictionalized memoir, etc. The writer Rae Spoon just sidestepped that whole mess, although the main character has helpfully been named Rae. Each chapter/story could be self-contained, and the narrative kind of builds on itself, so that in one chapter you might learn that the main character takes Ritalin recreationally during Bible class, and then in the next chapter you go back and find out how that began. I don’t really want to give away anything that happens but the book involves, among other things: religious Christians, queer things, schizophrenia, family dynamics, and Canada.
The book is called First Spring Grass Fire after this line in it: “I would look into the clouds for messages that confirmed my doubts and find nothing—just a huge, God-filled sky over the dry grass on Nose Hill, brown after the snow melted and waiting for a lit cigarette to set the first spring grass fire.” The title kept reminding me, though, of Spring Fire by Vin Packer (aka Marijane Meaker aka M.E. Kerr), which is supposed to be the very first example of lesbian pulp fiction, and I wondered if that was intentional or just a happy coincidence.
Book design: It’s a very pretty book, and nicely laid out. I found the font for the author’s name and the chapter titles a little finnicky and hard to read, but that’s such a minor complaint.
Theme song: Padraic My Prince by Bright Eyes
What other book is this like: Hmm. . . Eh, maybe if Rapture Practice by Aaron Hartzler and Brooklyn Burning by Steve Brezenoff had a book baby?
Where did I get this book from: Bureau of General Services-Queer Division, a very nice bookstore in NYC. Perhaps you too can buy it from an actual bookstore too, rather than stupid amazon.com.