- Robert C. Kukla
Book Review: Malinda Lo’s ‘Last Night At The Telegraph Club'
"A Story The Makes You Appreciate The LGBTQ+ People Who Came Before Us"
I listened to this as an audiobook and after listening to it I needed to get my hands on a physical copy because it is that good!
This is a young adult historical fiction novel centering around Lily, an 18-year-old Chinese-American lesbian.
We follow her journey of navigating the 1950s in a society where white people ostracized her for being Chinese and her own people ostracize her for being a lesbian. When she meets Kathleen the two develop strong feelings for one another and the two will do anything to maintain that love despite what is going around within society around them.
I loved the way Malinda Lo explored the intersectionality of race and sexuality and these do tend to be my favorite type of queer stories, but Lo wrote this in what I can only describe as expertly and poignantly.
I thought Lily was such a well rounded character and she was written in such a way that you couldn't help being drawn to her. You cried with her, you smiled with her and you felt every emotion she was going through.
I also really loved the 1950s perspective because it provides a historical context that you don't often see in young adult queer stories and I feel this history is just as important to learn about as learning about where we are today as an LGBTQ community. We got to see the underground organizations that provided a safe space for LGBTQ+ young adults, when everywhere else around them shunned them and dehumanized them.
I appreciated that Lily and Kathleen’s relationship had its fair share of obstacles. It wasn’t easy for them and they had their fair share of moments that challenged them but through it all, they persevered and it made me as a reader root for them until the very end of the book.
Overall, I loved this book and I cant speak highly enough about how impactful it was to read and if you cant tell, I highly recommend it, especially if you enjoy historical fiction and queer stories.
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