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The Rebellion of Miss Lucy Ann Lobdell

by William Klaber

The Rebellion of Miss Lucy Ann Lobdell by William Klaber X
The Rebellion of Miss Lucy Ann Lobdell by William Klaber
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There are currently 45 member reviews
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  • Nancy K. (Toledo, OH)
    The Rebellion of Miss Lucy Lobdell
    As noted by previous reviewers, this is a slow starter but eventually the story develops. I had never heard of Lucy Lobdell so after reading the obituary in the NY Times I was intrigued. (Note, I am one of the shameful people that check the end of the book first!) Lucy/Joe did lead an interesting life and that is an understatement. I however have to say that somewhere, sometime I hope another author reads about her and writes a better book. Mr. Loaner attempted to tell too much and the story wanders at times. I do have to say that I have never read anything about lesbians during the 1800's so I found that part fascinating.
  • Rosanne S. (Franklin Square, NY)
    The Rebellion of Miss Lucy Ann Lobdell
    As memoirs go this was an extremely complex one for sure. Lucy Ann Lobdell goes undercover as a man in pursuit of a better life for she and her daughter, Helen. The reality is that what she actually pursues is an honest, authentic life for herself.

    As the story progresses we learn a lot about Lucy. Her desire for sexual equality and freedom that only men of her generation have is groundbreaking at the very least. The length she goes to in pursuit of these freedoms is admirable. The price she pays for them horrifying.

    I applaud William Klaber for taking on her story; however, I wasn't totally thrilled with his delivery. At times I was totally engaged in the story and then my interest would wane and the book would drag. I honestly think this would make a better movie than novel. I'd find it hard to recommend this book despite how much I appreciate the story.
  • Ann W. (New York, NY)
    The rebellion of Miss Lucy Ann Lobdell, a strange bird
    This was a fictionalized memoir, a difficult task. William Klaber has uncovered a painful story. I found myself exasperated, irritated, occasionally delighted and enchanted. It was ever-changing. It was not fish nor fowl, historical fiction, reliably, nonfiction. At points it was boring, and crammed with interesting facts. Fiction has the potential to be more entertaining than fact. Reading about life along the Delaware Canal was delightful and some of the best sections of the book. However, Lucy as Lucy or as Joseph never engaged me. The book was wordy and needed better editing.

    The historical Lucy Ann Lobdell apparently resided in an area of Minnesota that has an important story to relate about immigration and those already residing in the territory. The author alludes to this but fails to link it with his theme of identity and humanity. The settlers with the connivance of the U.S. Government failed to pay money owed to the Dakota as well as not giving them food and supplies. This led to war in the summer of 1862, killing traders and government workers. Then settlements were attacked. White settlers were killed and others fled.

    His voice remains masculine. Although he writes of the Scarlet Letter, I was not convinced that it was more than name-dropping. Hawthorne's tale was set in the harsh Puritan community of seventeenth-century Boston. By association, Klaber wants the reader to assume that pre-Civil War settlements were similar. Hawthorne's concerns were with the tension between the public and the private selves. Publicly disgraced and ostracized, Hester Prynne draws on her inner strength and certainty of spirit to emerge as the first true heroine of American fiction. Arthur Dimmesdale, trapped by the rules of society, stands as a classic study of a self divided. Unfortunately, this book fails to deliver any such heroine, although Lucy Lobdell was an interesting subject. Given the paucity of historical information, she remained a projection of the author that did not work for me.
  • Kathleen S. (Oshkosh, WI)
    Interesting historical fiction
    William Klaber turned letters and documents about an obscure woman from his hometown's past into an interesting first-person narrative. Because I didn't pay close attention to the advanced description of the book, I was a bit surprised by the focus on Lucy's sexual awakening/orientation. Given the historical facts upon which the story was based, however, I think Mr. Klaber did an admirable job of telling the tale of a very unusual woman for her time. The book kept my interest, but I don't know that I would go out of my way to recommend that others read it unless they have a specific interest in what life was like for a lesbian long before society was willing to acknowledge, let alone begin to accept, their presence in society.
  • Connie H. (Evanston, IL)
    Questions but no Answers
    Interesting idea, but I wanted the author to delve more deeply into the main character. I did not feel like I really understood his motivations. Were they based on gender identity, sexual preference or frustration with the lack of control and opportunity for women. Was the author implying that her change in attire and manner encouraged a change in sexual appetites?
  • Mary Jane D. (Arlington Heights, IL)
    Not What I Expected
    I chose to read this book because I like historical fiction of the period. I didn't realize it was about a gay lady struggling with her acceptance of her sexual orientation. It is not the subject matter I would normally read about.The best part was the Author's Afterward where he explained why and how he wrote the book. I give William Klaber kuddos for finding a real person to explore and research with whom he had a connection. The book was slow at times and I didn't identify strongly with any of the characters.

    This would be a good read for someone interested in early gay rights and the evolution of women's rights.
  • Amy N. (New Market, TN)
    Interesting topic.
    I read this book, because I read Neverhome by Laird Hunt. I struggled to read this book, it went slower than I expected it would. Though the misadventures Lucy Ann gets into are sometimes hilarious, it was almost impossible situations. I would suggest this book to a book club, where debating books was a part of the reading. Especially if it is read in segments.


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