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Under the rainbow : a novel

by Laskey, Celia,

Format: Print Book 2020
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When a group of social activists arrive in a small town, the lives and beliefs of residents and outsiders alike are upended, in this wry, embracing novel.

Big Burr, Kansas, is the kind of place where everyone seems to know everyone, and everyone shares the same values-or keeps their opinions to themselves. But when a national nonprofit labels Big Burr "the most homophobic town in the US" and sends in a task force of queer volunteers as an experiment-they'll live and work in the community for two years in an attempt to broaden hearts and minds-no one is truly prepared for what will ensue.

Furious at being uprooted from her life in Los Angeles and desperate to fit in at her new high school, Avery fears that it's only a matter of time before her "gay crusader" mom outs her. Still grieving the death of her son, Linda welcomes the arrivals, who know mercifully little about her past. And for Christine, the newcomers are not only a threat to the comforting rhythms of Big Burr life, but a call to action. As tensions roil the town, cratering relationships and forcing closely guarded secrets into the light, everyone must consider what it really means to belong. Told with warmth and wit, Under the Rainbow is a poignant, hopeful articulation of our complicated humanity that reminds us we are more alike than we'd like to admit.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Big Burr, Kansas (population 10,000), has been named the most homophobic town in America by a national gay organization called Acceptance Across America. To make things interesting, AAA has sent a ""queer task force"" to live in Big Burr for two years as an experiment in consciousness-raising. How the town reacts is the substance of this novel, made up of linked short stories. Each of the 12 stories is a first-person account by a local resident or member of the task force. Thus, the first story is told by Avery, the daughter of the lesbian task-force director, who is afraid to come out to her mom as straight. Another story introduces us to Christine, a conservative Christian who attempts to set an AAA billboard on fire. Then there is thirtysomething Gabe, a married hunter and local sports-store owner who is struggling with being secretly gay. At turns melancholy, bittersweet, and even buoyant, the stories constitute a kind of queer, twenty-first-century Our Town that, in this revisionist exercise, is deeply satisfying. A fine first novel.--Michael Cart Copyright 2019 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Laskey's pointed if didactic debut explores what happens when a small Kansas town is disrupted by outsiders. Fifteen-year-old Avery moves to Big Burr, Kans., after LBGTQ nonprofit Acceptance Across America called it the "Most Homophobic Town" in the U.S. and recruited one of her lesbian moms to lead a team of volunteers to spread tolerance. The narrative is strung together by short segments from the points of view of long-term residents and newcomers such as Avery, who fears that her mothers will be disappointed by her heterosexuality, while classmates egg her locker at school when they discover she has gay parents. Avery bonds with her sensitive classmate Zach, who stands out for not spewing hateful epithets at the volunteers sent by the nonprofit. Laskey turns the lens unsympathetically on the secretly gay Big Burr resident Gabe, who uses hunting trips as an excuse to check Grindr, and an uptight, straight housewife named Christine, who condemns a billboard showing two women holding hands. While some of the characterizations are subtle, Laskey too often relies on stereotypes of unenlightened hicks, and what begins as a nuanced novel segues into a predictable morality tale, with the outsiders imparting life lessons to those willing to listen, leaving the others mired in despair. Kansas deserves better than this. Agent: Alexa Stark, Trident Media Group. (Mar.)"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Publisher New York :2020
Language English
Description pages cm
ISBN 9780525536161
Other Classic View