Lambda Literary Award Finalists You Must Read

In celebration of the 2013 finalists, we review five nominated works of LGBT literature that should be at the top of you must-read list.

BY Jase Peeples and Diane Anderson-Minshall

March 07 2013 4:32 PM ET

Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson

This long-awaited memoir by the lesbian author of Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit (which became a film, see video below) covers much of the same material as that autobiographical nove, but delves even deeper into her relationship with a religiously zealous adoptive mother who treated her like the spawn of Satan.

“Mrs. Winterson,” as Winterson calls her mother in the memoir, was an enormous British woman and “flamboyant depressive… who kept a revolver in the duster drawer, and the bullets in a tin of Pledge.”

The elder Winterson waited with baited anticipation for an imminent biblical apocalypse that would strike down her godless neighbors and deliver her into the rapture her piety must have surely earned her. As must have raising Jeanette and doing her best to wrest the disobedient child into a god-fearing Christian. “

The Devil led us to the wrong crib,” Mrs. Winterson liked to say. She employed all of her resources in her fight against Satan, sparing neither rod nor scripture. But nothing — not beatings, shutting the child “in a coal hole,” nor routinely locking her out of the house all night — seemed to work.—Trudy Ring

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