Forgive Me If I've Told You This Before
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About the Author
Washington State's Olympic Peninsula is what the short novels in the collection Three Sides Water have in common. It travels from a 1925-set harrowing, suspenseful tale of a woman's assault and its lifelong aftermath, to a 1970 coming-of-age tale set in the waning days of a juvenile detention center, to a present-day wry, comic look at one man's obsession with... wait for it: Bing Crosby.
In On Rialto Beach, Marguerite is half of an identical twin set who has entered show business via the flim-flam performances of her mystic act boss. While on vacation in his remote luxury camp, Marguerite experiences the delight of drawing in a treehouse and the company of visiting silent screen idol Harold Lloyd. But she is also brutally attacked by a hired man. The summer and its secrets haunt her.
In At Fort Worden, readers meet chronic delinquent Avery, who spends his last year as a ward of the state. He runs away from his detention center, experiences his first love with fellow inmate Brenda and friendship with a transgender teen. Through them he awakens to the tumultuous world at large.
Finally, Out of Shelton follows Chris, who has been brought up by his grandmother in the image of the singing star Bing Crosby, and finds his own identity submerging into Der Bingle's, warts and all. It proves promising for his entertainment career but wreaks havoc on his love and family life. The pull of place comes to his rescue, along with some dosing with Anafranil.
Though widely different in tone and genre, these three short novels unite in their compelling setting. Each shares the pull of place: this spectacular corner of the continent. A delightful tour de force. Highly recommended.
By Eileen Charbonneau for the Oregon Historical Society--Oregon Historical Society "Three Sides Water "
Queer Books Across America: Incredible Lesbian and Bisexual Novels and Memoirs Set in Every State
Sara Quin's front-page endorsement of this novel -- she cried her eyes out, and was "so touched and amazed to read something that so closely echoed my own adolescence" -- is likely all you need to fall for the story of shy, nerdy Triinu Hoffman of rural Oregon, who in 1989 is finding herself (and her love for girls) while her town takes sides over equal rights.
Smartly set in a dangerous time, when the politicizing and normalizing of a virulent homophobia was gripping Oregon, a teen must find the audacity to simply be who she is. Stetz-Waters has drawn a genuine young heroine who reminds us, not without humor, that small acts of courage move the world forward. -Heather Lyn McDonald, director of the documentary film Ballot Measure 9
Take a deep breath. Step back twenty years to a virulent antigay political campaign, when being queer meant being branded a pariah and an abomination. Walk with Triinu, a shy and achingly honest girl who tries to navigate love and friendship, hold to her faith, and accept her draw to other young women. At the end of the road, you'll thank author Karelia Stetz-Waters for this bold and lucid story that is compelling, compassionate, and leavened with humor. Stetz-Waters dedicates her book to "queer kids everywhere," but you needn't be queer or a kid to appreciate Forgive Me If I've Told You This Before. - Ruth Tenzer Feldman, Oregon Book Award-winning author
I absolutely loved this book. I cried my eyes out, so touched and amazed to read something that so closely echoed my own adolescence... The injustice and fear that homophobia unleashes on society's young people has twisted so many coming-out stories into ones of tragedy. I will cherish Forgive Me and its message of kindness and hope while cheering the trailblazers who came before me; in their simple acts of defiance and love, they have changed the world. - Sara Quin, of Tegan and Sara