The Mad Lesbian: A Book Review by Shaylen Maxwell

Literature is back and hotter than ever before – especially with Jostyn Beatty, prolific writer, haughty feminist, and winner of the Nobel Prize for lesbian fiction in a modern age! In a follow up to her widely acclaimed first two novels: My Life as a Lesbian & For the Love of The Lesbo, Jostyn Beatty has written her third and final heart-wrenching memoir: The Mad Lesbian.

Granddaughter of straight literary giant Lace Beatty–writer of The Dudes of Silverstone, Ode to a Phallus, and Ninety and Still Randy–Ms. Beatty explores how lesbianism is not a mental disorder! Especially not the kind that took the life of her soul mate, Mercury Stark, at the ripe age of sixty two…

In this memoir she discusses the gruesome details of Mercury’s final last hours. The tortured state of her mind, her compulsive breeding of cockroaches all in the name of ‘science’, and her eventual suffocation on gnat flies… Beatty also explores the resurrection of her young brother, Burdoch (who had a brief tortured appearance in the My Life as a Lesbian) who, fans will recall, drowned at the age of seven. Resurrected by a purple genie thirty-five years post-mortem, he reappears not a day older! Jostyn poignantly reflects on the joyous reunion between her brother and her elderly, and now widowed father Ian. And she divulges the everyday challenges of raising her now teenage daughter, Penny, who–on the brink of adolescence–has declared definitively she’s straight and in love with a boy the offspring of an alien abduction. Yes, half Martian, half man, this boy has stolen Penny’s heart. As Jostyn openly admits, she was slightly dismayed. “I wanted to believe she was at least Bi,” she writes, “Perhaps just so I wouldn’t feel the painful sting of remaining the sole Lesbian perched in my genealogical tree.”

The Mad Lesbian is the perfect end to the series that explored the pangs of coming out as the eldest daughter in a traditionalist family of eight children, who’s experimentation with hair dye once caused more uproar than the evening coverage of the War on Terror. The series also detailed the falling in love with wild and promiscuous Mercury, ballet dancer by day-cum-exotic dancer by night. And the rare pictures of their lesbian wedding & honeymoon photos, and a homemade porn video later sold to Extra for a hefty fee… Devout readers also cannot forget the outrageous adoption of her first son, Calvin – who battled Autism and ODD before having to be institutionalized when he beheaded the family parrot, Poppy, with a pair of scissors. An incident that Jostyn later admitted led to her addiction to Valium which was heavily disclosed in the second novel For the Love of the Lesbo. It also, as Ms. Beatty now confesses, nearly ended her marriage to Mercury. “It wasn’t to be,” she wrote. “As soon as I told her I was expecting, our love only flourished…”

Expecting she was! In a move that shocked the nation, during her second book tour, she announced her successful in vitro conception of a baby daughter, Penny. In this book she finally divulges all the details of this miracle. Including finally disclosing the identity of her sperm donor: Her homosexual friend, Rico, later confirmed to be a carrier of the AIDS virus, but miraculously never infecting mother, child, or Lesbian lover! She writes, “Had cloning been an option, I’d have cloned Mercury myself, using hoary hairs salvaged from her dirty hairbrush. I loved that Lesbian immensely – even if she went mad in the head…”

The real crux of this touching memoir comes when Jostyn rekindles her lesbian feelings for her childhood friend Violet Lovett. Jostyn’s unending quest to understand matters of the lesbian heart, make this final memoir all the more inspiring. Yes, indeed, Ms Beatty is more candid than ever this time around – never ceasing to keep her readers guessing. And readers, no doubt, will delight in her never before seen exploration of what it means to be lesbian when old age rears its wrinkled head…

Though Jostyn promises this is the last novel of its kind, one can’t help but feel a pang of grief. We will miss this flaming lesbian’s words, basking in her delight, heartache, and dark humour that made her books such a treasure for over three decades…

Ms Beatty certainly proves that life of lesbian is never dull. Her ability to capture in words, what it truly means to be a lesbian in the 21st Century is matched by no other author of her time. She’s the voice of the lesbian generation alright! And not even Katy Perry lyrics can come close to approximating her irresistible charm & wordsmith prowess.

My fiction has appeared in over a dozen publications in the US and overseas, most notably: Reflection’s Edge, Flashes in the Dark, The New Flesh, Wild Violet, and Neonbeam Magazine. I am editor-in-chief of State of Imagination ezine. And I also completed a mentorship with David Bergen (winner of the 2005 Giller Prize, Canada’s most prestigious literary award) in which I was working on a collection of my short fiction.

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