When housewife Ann Bannon brought her first novel to a paperback publisher in the mid-1950s, the publisher skimmed the manuscript and told her to scrap everything but the college love affair between two women.
There's your real story, he said as she blushed, ashamed that her secret obsession had been so obvious to him. The resulting novel was Odd Girl Out, one of the bestselling paperbacks of the period, and perhaps the best (and least depressing) example of lesbian pulp fiction, a genre that flourished from the end of the Second World War until the changing laws on censorship made much seamier material commonplace, and the growing gay rights movement brought the gay life out of the shadows. Although the last of a four-book series, Beebo Brinker introduces Bannon's central character, a young, handsome butch who arrives in New York scared and innocent (and wearing a dress) but soon has the femmes of Greenwich Village in the palm of her hand.
Essential reading for anyone interesting in lesbian herstory; a period piece (and a welcome reprint) that has worn remarkably well. Another gay novel, this is more of the pulp sort. The eponymous protagonist is sent packing from her stodgy Wisconsin home after wearing drag to the state fair. She relocates to Greenwich Village, New York's capital of the avant-garde, where she is free to pursue "love that smolders in the shadows of the twilight world." This is more kitschy now but still fun for its 1950s sensibilities. Note that this is the first of four Bannon novels being reprinted by Cleis.
Author: Ann Bannon
Publisher: Cleis Press
Length: 208 Pages