WANTING TO BE WHO WE'RE NOT
 

Creative Nonfiction by Queer Writers
Edited by Jim Tushinski and Jim Van Buskirk
Now available from Harrington Park Press

 
 
 

What People Are Saying About Identity Envy

While this excellent collection ... allows the short, dark-haired Jewish writers a chance to fantasize about being a tall, blonde WASP or a Canadian to become an American, the ache to be someone else, in the hope to feel “happy and safe” or loved, eventually makes the subject more self-aware ... Readers may not identify with every writer/story in “Identity Envy,” but there is nary a dud in the book; each memoir/essay is poignant and revealing.

-- Gary Kramer, Philadelphia Gay News

"What could have become a tedious collection of class writing exercises is instead a provocative display of experiences and influences. The editors are blessed, in fact, by the diversity of their contributors."

-- Jameson Currier, Lambda Book Report

"[A]n eclectic anthology of engaging essays and memoirs whose message is that the desire to be someone other than who we are is an integral and universal aspects of coming of age... Wildly diverse and achingly honest, the essays that make up this original anthology offer new perspectives on the reasons and rewards for wanting to be who we are not."

-- Patricia R. Payette, Gay and Lesbian Review Worldwide

"One of the pleasures of the endless output of G&L anthologies is the chance to read so many writers side-by-side, not just young newcomers with older veterans, but also those from all walks of life. In all, 28 stories and writers just as interesting make Identity Envy a very entertaining experience. "

-- Jerry Rosco, Mandate Magazine

"The collection is a testament to the power of imagination as a tool for psychological discovery. It is also at times funny, poignant, and compelling in its originality."

-- Catherine Conway Honig, Scene4 Magazine
Read the complete review online

"This may be among the most radical [book] in recent publication, not because of its politics, but because it takes its stand without relying on either polarization or feel-good superficialities. Instead, the editors have compiled a collection that is characterized by its complexities. This is not so much a book about queer identity as it is about identity itself, about what it feels like to not fit in. And it is about the fantastic alternate selves that can make everyday life a little bit easier... More than anything, it is the true diversity of its voices that sets Identity Envy apart as a deeply meaningful text."

-- Courtney Arnold, ForeWord Magazine
Read the complete review online



"Identity Envy is an entertaining and enlightening collection of personal essays about the desire to be someone other than who we are.  The writers take on matters of class, race, religion, regional differences--and so much more--all with intelligence, insight, and compelling honesty.  In tone, the pieces vary from the comic sizzle of  Mike McGinty's "You Picked a Fine Time to Leave Me, Helen" to the rueful nostalgia of Robert Boulanger's "Acting American."  The book made me think differently about my own identity and the way we all make peace (a frequently uneasy peace) with ourselves."

-- Stephen McCauley, author of The Object of My Affection and Alternatives to Sex

"Identity Envy offers up a collection of truly fresh, inspiring and revelatory explorations of those shifting sands that make up the unsure ground of who we think we are and what others assume us to be. A fascinating exploration of the formation of identity...filled with wonderful humor, inspiring tales of courage, and the enthusiasm and joy of self-realization and growth."

-- Trebor Healey, author of Through It Came Bright Colors

"Identity Envy does what you always hope a good book will do - it takes you deep into the lives of a group of fascinating, and in this case often startlingly honest, people. You become so engrossed in their stories, full of hope and nostalgia, disappointment and courage, that you finish the book wishing you could know each of them, even better, in person.”

-- Robert Taylor, author of Whose Eye is on Which Sparrow and The Innocent

“Sex and gender phobias of the dominant culture compel queer people to envy identities other than our own; and that often leads to shame and low self-esteem. Until the release of this wonderful book, there's been no positive role-modeling for what exactly to do with all that envy. These essays read like fairy tales, only they're the true stories of what people do when we hate what we are, and when we wanna be something we're not allowed to be. The editors have put together a terriffic collection of sweet, heart-breaking, hilarious, and always bone-deep honest tales of the journey all us queers and freaks are given in our lifetimes: to grow from ugly duckling to beautiful swan.”

-- Kate Bornstein, author of Hello, Cruel World: 101 Alternatives to Suicide for Teens, Freaks and Other Outlaws
 

“From juvenile delinquency, allergies, adoption, experimental theater and shock therapy to farming, family dysfunction, hairspray, religion and hypocrisy, Identity Envy captures the innocence, impossibility, rambunctiousness and relentless dreaming of queers striving to become everything we're not even supposed to imagine.”

-- Mattilda, a.k.a. Matt Bernstein Sycamore, author of Pulling Taffy