I Came Out For This? by Lisa Gitlin


Do you know what it’s like to come out when you’re in your forties, having menopausal symptoms, for God’s sake, and then fall madly in love with someone?


There‘s only one place Joanna Kane can tell it like it is. Her journal: “I hate Terri Rubin, the woman I‘m in love with. She called and told me she‘s dating a woman named Sonya. I hate this Sonya and I hate Terri and I hate myself because I was never like this in my life. Do you know what it‘s like to come out when you‘re in your forties, having menopausal symptoms, for God‘s sake, and then fall madly in love with someone? All of a sudden you‘re in adolescence for the first time. You don‘t even recognize yourself. My whole adult life I was this cool, collected writer, strutting around in jeans and leather jacket, advising friends and siblings about their relationships, being a devoted daughter and a responsible professional person and a good citizen, and then one day I woke up and realized I was gay, and then this sassy woman walked into my life and I fell in love at first sight, after spending my life thinking that never really happened and only watching West Side Story because of the gangs. And now I‘ve become the kind of person I used to make fun of, who becomes hysterical because her beloved tells her she‘s dating some woman named Sonya who has an apothecary store in Bethesda, Maryland. “I‘m sick of being in this endless rut, I‘m sick of Cleveland, and I‘m thinking of moving to Washington, DC to be with Terri Rubin who I hate.”

Reviews for I Came Out For This?

“Lisa Gitlin’s funny, quixotic, poignant, gut-wrenching and yes, romantic debut novel is definitely a must-read. More than just the standard romance fare, I Came Out for This? is told as a series of journal entries . . . Joanna is a whiner. She’s also a comedian—not intentionally, she’s just unbelievably witty (as is Gitlin). And so what starts out as a diatribe and actually continues for the entire 300 pages as a diatribe, is never irritating, never maudlin, is indeed occasionally shockingly irreverent but is always, always, always immensely readable. . . . This book is a bona fide page-turner; there’s no suspense—it’s not that kind of page-turner—but it is compelling from the first sentence to the last. . . . Yes, Gitlin has a razor-sharp insight into the foibles of love and human nature and Joanna’s first-person narrative reads like the rantings of a real live woman who is alternately in love, angry, sad, embarrassed, verklempt and ultimately incredibly strong and vibrant. It’s difficult to imagine who wouldn’t love this book. If it’s not on the list of finalists next year for a Lammy, there’s no justice, as Joanna Kane herself might claim. Get this book and read it and then give it to someone else. It’s that good.” —Victoria Brownworth, Lambda Literary Review, September 2010

“Lisa Gitlin has a wonderfully realized character in Joanna Kane; one with wit and wonder but more importantly, one with whom it’s easy to identify. We’ve all been out on the fringes at one time or another, living lives our families and friends couldn’t understand. Kane’s journey out there and back is one we know well, and she deals with the roadblocks she encounters with sass and verve. The voice? Well, it’s soft and hard, soothing and haranguing, full of hope and despair—sometimes in the same sentence—but Joanna is never, ever boring.” —Jerry Wheeler, outinprint.net, August 2010

“Debut author Lisa Gitlin’s semi-autobiographical novel, I Came Out For This?, is a hilarious first-person narrative from her fictitious altar ego, Joanna Kane, a forty-something recently out lesbian whose observations about her life, relationships and purpose for existence are frank, brutally honest, occasionally crude and always amusing. . . . Courtesy of Gitlin’s unrelenting wit and self-flagellating humor, Joanna becomes someone to root for, when in fact she is arguably more deserving of the reader’s concern or sympathy. Her actions are mostly desperate, unfounded, and by no means admirable, yet everyone will find something in common with Joanna, whether it’s unrequited love, mid-life uncertainty, or just plain loneliness. Nevertheless, Joanna’s zany coming-of-age adventure provides one laugh-out-loud moment after another. . . . Joanna thinks and speaks without restraint and with a profound simplicity that is almost childlike. The end result is inexcusably funny.” —Christopher Verleger, Edge, September 2010

If you love Lisa Gitlin then check out Ann McMan, Joan Opyr and Mari SanGiovanni. You won’t be sorry.

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