Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden is truly a slice of my past. It was one of the first lesbian books that I read after I came out in 2007. It was a huge deal for me since I hadn’t really seen couples like Ashleigh and I back then. Not in books anyway. It was a powerful read the first time and it still held that power as I reread it now, 11 years later.
Instead of a traditional book review, I decided I wanted to share some quotes from the book that had an impact back then and still do now. There are quotes that brought me right back to 2007 when Ashleigh and I started to date and I came out for the first time.
Even knowing that my parents would love me no matter what, it was terrifying to say those words for the first time “I’m gay.” And I was pairing them with “I’m dating Ashleigh”. It was an interesting time and I’m grateful for all the support that my family has given me over the years. My mom even walked in the Pride parade with me this year. It was awesome!
So, I wanted to share the quotes that reminded me of that time in my life. To keep it simple, I’m moving from start to finish.
Then a funny thing happened. We looked at each other, really looked, I mean, for the first time, and for a moment or two I don’t think I could have told anyone my name, let along where I was. Nothing like that had ever happened to me before, and I think – I know – it scared me.
— Page 13
This quote is from shortly after Liza and Annie meet for the first time. It’s funny because even 11 years ago, I can remember the moment that I met Ashleigh. We didn’t have this moment right away, but we did have it. I remember when it occurred to me that there was something more than friendship between us. It was intense and it was scary.
This quote brought that memory back for me and I felt so much closer to Liza than I had before. It can be terrifying to realize that you feel something more than you have always been told you are supposed to. Even if you don’t realize what it is that you are feeling right away.
That phone call was the best thing that had happened all day, and for a while after I’d hung up, the situation at school didn’t seem nearly so bad anymore.
— Page 33
High school is not a time that I look back on fondly for the most part. The whole experience for me was pretty underwhelming and filled with experiences that weren’t great. I can’t imagine how difficult it would have been for Annie and Liza since they weren’t even at the same school. They had to wait until they got home to talk and sometimes, you just need to vent about the bad things that happened that day.
I was lucky that I met Ashleigh in high school. Even before we started dating, I loved seeing her between classes. I’m pretty sure that every night for weeks, we talked on the phone for at least an hour. These were highlights for me. She was a bright light on some of the darkest days. This quote reminded me of those late night phone calls in the early days.
In a few minutes we were lying down on Annie’s bed, holding each other and sometimes kissing, but not really touching. Mostly just being happy. Still scared, though, too.
— Page 106
This is just a beautiful moment that shows young love. Even in happiness, it can be terrifying to feel something that seems beyond where you are.
I went downstairs to Dad’s encyclopedia and looked up HOMOSEXUALITY, but that didn’t tell me much about any of the things I felt. What struck me most, though, was that , in that whole long article, the word “love” wasn’t used even once.
— Page 143
I can’t even imagine trying to figure out what it meant to be gay in a time when the information wasn’t easily accessible through the internet. This description of the encyclopedia entry reminded me of how grateful I was to be able to find information that accurately represented what it means to be gay.
I felt as if I were meeting parts of myself in the gay people I read about.
— Page 144
This was an interesting quote to read because it was exactly how I felt as I read this book for the first time.
I’ve never thought gay people can be very happy– no children, for one thing, no real family life.
— Page 191
Liza’s dad tells her this shortly after she is forced to come out. It is one of the saddest quotes in the book, in my opinion. Like the encyclopedia entry, there is a failure to recognize that love exists within homosexual relationships. It is heartbreaking to consider that people actually get caught up in these old fashioned ideas. I wonder how many people in my life might have believed that Ashleigh couldn’t be as happy as anyone else because we are both women.
Plus, this nonsense of gay people not being able to have children or a real family life. Ashleigh and I may not have children, but we do have a family. We have each other, our two kitties and our puppy. For now, that is all the family we want and need.
It was awful. It made us sound like monsters, not like two people in love.
— Page 201
Like the quote from Liza’s father, this one was also filled with emotions. Without spoiling anything, Liza has to listen to someone describe finding out that she is with Annie. I will never understand why some people believe that love can’t be found in a relationship that doesn’t fit the societal norms.
What matters is the truth of loving, of two people finding one each other. That’s what’s important, and don’t you forget it.
— Page 229
And then after all the dreary stuff, there is this. It is a profound reminder about how important love is. Love is powerful and it is in this quote that Liza is told for the first time that love does actually exist in homosexual relationships. While I didn’t think that I couldn’t love Ashleigh when we first got together, it was wonderful to have some reassurance that love is powerful enough to overcome all types of barriers.
This quote was an important moment for me when I was younger. It helped me realize that it takes more than the world looking down on you to be torn apart. Almost 11 years later and I’m lucky enough to still have Ashleigh by my side. This book has been a huge part of that journey.
So there is my journey through Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden via quotes. It was an emotional journey to read through the book again and relive the memories and emotions that I associated with it the first time I read it.
Are there any books from your childhood or teenage years that you identify with? What are the quotes that still resonate with you?