GLBT Fiction -Book Annotation

29 Apr

Title: Stone Butch Blues

Author: Leslie Feinberg

Publication Date: 2003 by Alyson Books

Genre: GLBT Fiction

Number of Pages: 301

A relatable story about growing up different, wanting to fit in, and searching for the people who share, and appreciate, those differences. Before the Stonewall Riots, the main character becomes aware of her differences, and begins searching for the best way to come out to her family, her friends, and herself. Throughout the story she struggles with people asking the question,”is that a Woman or a Man?” As the story unfolds, we watch this question begin to shape the way she interacts with others and the perception she has of herself.

Central Character:

  • Jess Goldberg

Other significant Characters (as they appear in the story):

  • Butch Al and Jacqueline (First mentor couple)
  • Toni and Betty (Second mentor couple)
  • Theresa (Love interest)
  • Grant (Friend)
  • Angie (Friend)

Geographical Setting: Buffalo

Time Period: 1950s, Pre-Stonewall Riots

Plot Summary:

Jess Goldberg takes us on her personal journey of finding herself, finding love, and learning to trust in a world of disingenuous people. Growing up butch in the projects of Buffalo, New York during the 1950s, she finds herself constantly on the run and fighting to survive. Jess leaves her unsupportive family and attaches herself to different lesbian couples that help her to develop her new found identity. Jess is challenged to remain her sweet and hopeful self as she suffers through the sexual violence, fickle friendships, and social exile that awaits her on the path ahead. Feinberg gives us a peek into the vibrant lives of Butch and Femme as they endure the hardships of love, a love lost, and grapple with a harsh reality from which they are unable to protect themselves or each other.

Subject Headings:

  • Coming out (Sexual orientation) -Fiction
  • Transsexuals -Fiction
  • Lesbians -Fiction


  • Lesbian Characters
  • Character Driven Plot
  • Unhurried Pace

Similar Authors and Works:

  • Ann Aldrich focuses on character driven narratives to illustrate lesbian subcultures in and around New York, in the novel We, Too, Must Love.
  • Jessica Casavant focuses on a lesbian character living in self-imposed exile, in the novel Walking Wounded.
  • Rita Mae Brown focuses on the journey of growing up lesbian in America, in the novel Rubyfruit Jungle.

-A Teaching Librarian


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