Taking My Life

Jane Rule, Author, Linda Morra, Afterword by
Jane Rule, intro. by Linda Morra. Talon, $19.95 (280p) ISBN 978-0-88922-673-9
Reviewed on: 08/22/2011
Release date: 10/01/2011
Ebook - 278 pages - 978-0-88922-728-6
Open Ebook - 978-1-322-36544-2
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This charming, thoughtful memoir recounts the first 21 years of the life of Rule, a writer who wrote fiction and nonfiction on lesbian themes and who died in 2007. Rule was born in New Jersey in 1931 and lived in various states, including Texas and California. In 1956, she moved to Canada, where she became a professor at the University of British Columbia and a celebrated writer of novels (she is perhaps best known for Desert of the Heart). Morra, a professor at Bishop’s University in Montreal, discovered the memoir’s manuscript among Rule’s papers. In her introduction, she writes that the autobiography “sheds light on those figures who were key to [Rule’s] intellectual, artistic, and sexual development” and likely was written in the late 1980s, just before she stopped writing. Rule’s recall of the minutiae of her childhood is impressive, especially when she describes the people and experiences that shaped her writing, from her active and intellectually curious family to the rebelliousness that characterized her student years. Rule also writes of her growing attraction to women: her initial confusion (“I seemed to hold two mutually exclusive views, that my love represented what was best in me and that it was a sin.”) and her eventual peace with her lesbianism. Whether it serves as an introduction to a new literary voice or an illumination of an already beloved one, this book offers fascinating insight into Rule’s formative years as a provocateur, intellectual, lover, and writer. Photos. (Oct.)
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