Eight Bullets: One Woman's Story of Surviving Anti-Gay Violence

Claudia Brenner, Author, Hannah Ashley, With
Claudia Brenner, Author, Hannah Ashley, With Firebrand Books $26.95 (216p) ISBN 978-1-56341-056-7
Reviewed on: 04/03/1995
Release date: 04/01/1995
Paperback - 216 pages - 978-1-56341-055-0
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On May 12, 1988, Claudia Brenner and her companion, Rebecca Wight, parked their car on Dead Woman's Hollow Road before starting on a hike on a part of the Appalachian Trail that runs through Pine Grove Furnace State Park in Pennsylvania. The next night, Friday the 13th, Brenner would make a four-mile hike out--this time alone and with five bullet wounds, four in her head and neck. Just two bullets had hit Wight, but one destroyed her liver and killed her. This is Brenner's recollection of the attack; of the hunt for her assailant, Stephen Roy Carr; her recovery; and her activism against anti-gay crimes. The bare outlines of Brenner's story are very powerful, but awkward writing and unnecessary switching of perspective from first person to a wildly omniscient third person (``Anne wished she could be at Hershey [Medical Center] that second.... Anne pushed a picture of Claudia's face with bullet holes in it out of her head'') weaken it. More disturbing are Brenner's assumptions of homophobia, even on the part of two policemen who by all accounts acted honorably (``Although they were no less homophobic than the average state trooper, their units no more enlightened, they became committed to me, a lesbian crime victim and my lesbian family.'') Without more supporting evidence, this kind of aside amounts to stereotyping, which Brenner, of all people, should abhor. (June)
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