I was going to write about new beginnings today, but I instead have to talk about what my brother gave me for Christmas. He gave me three Yuri manga books. For those of you who don’t know what that is, that’s Japanese graphic novels. From the lesbian genre.
When my brother first told me about this gift, I didn’t think anything of it. I’d read Yaoi comics before (that’s gay male character-based), and I’d read lesbian fiction before. I liked the Yaoi, but there’s only so much interest I can get out of that. As for lesbian fiction, this genre is incredibly hit and miss. While I love Sara Water’s books–Tipping the Velvet and Fingersmith being arguably her best works–there’s a lot of historical context there. They’re fascinating reads, but the women tend to cheat or betray one another in order to move the plot along. While I don’t mind the books, I don’t find them particularly romantic. At least, they’re not the type of romance I really like.
As for other novels, they’re frequently just bad. There’s not a lot of well-written lesbian fiction out there, and they generally exhibit commitment-phobes, anger issues, suicides, cheating, and all the other gritty realities of life that have no place in a romance novel. These issues have their place, but I’d like to read a sweet book with a happy ending. I don’t read romance novels to remind me that life sucks.
So, I’ve had to do what everyone else does. I read heterosexual novels. This is what I’m reduced to if I’m to feed the romantic yearnings that most of us women have. They didn’t go away just because I’m gay.
I finally got around to reading the books my older brother gave me yesterday, and I finished them this morning. I’m not sure I’ve ever been so touched my entire life. They were just what I’ve always wanted. It was a sweet teenage romance that sure wasn’t around when I was a teenager. I’ve always had to contend with a hero in every good romance I know, but here I got to see two heroines grow into friends, then fall in love with each other. This was no earth-shattering tale. No aliens attacked, and no one killed themselves. It was just a sweet story of teenage girls accepting that they loved each other, and it was beautiful. It even had the happy ending that I’ve always dreamed about.
This might seem stupid for a thirty-something lesbian to swoon over, but oh, well. It turns out there’s still a teenager in me that’s always felt deprived of some sappy romance. And I finally got it.
Thanks, bro. That was beyond sweet. It was amazingly thoughtful.
Photo from wittyanimeviewers.wordpress.com