Friday, August 12, 2011
Accidental Rebels by Kelly Sinclair
Publisher: Blue Feather Books
Tantona, Texas, is a typical Southern town in 1989. Being gay is highly undesirable, proven by the fact that a local church offers a group to “cure” people of that condition. It’s conservative, Christian and, unknown to most of the town, including the gay people, rampant with homosexuals. A few are out, most are closeted and some haven’t discovered their true natures yet.
Mandy Gabriel is trying very hard to deny her natural tendencies, but she’s losing the battle. Tina Ransom, the town librarian, is scared that someone will discover her true nature and it will cost her the job she loves, but she’s more afraid of the genetic disaster that may be hanging over her. Tina’s fear is nothing compared to the terror of her secret lover Sydney Melson, who is willing to marry a man to protect her teaching job.
Cat and Neil Acuff live in a comfortable marriage, necessitated fifteen years earlier when they tried to prove they weren’t gay by having sex and instead created their son Wesley. Now they are best friends and Cat releases her passion by singing lead for a band in her spare time.
This group and their friends are beginning to feel restless and ready for a change. As they begin to interact, more and more gay people pop up in the town and changes begin to ripple through the community. Maybe some of these people will find the happiness that has been eluding them.
Kelly Sinclair has created a story about people trying to find themselves and where they fit in their community, or if they can. She paints a picture of the prejudices that can exist in a small town community, not just towards homosexuality, but anything that appears to be “different” from the norm. Sinclair may have been too intent on showing how many forces can be at work because she includes a lot of characters. The book is reminiscent of the movie “The Big Chill” in that it introduces a lot of plot lines that are loosely connected by a central theme, but some of them aren’t fully developed. This gives a superficial approach to some of the stories, though the one that eventually includes Cat and Tina makes a good focus for the book. Sinclair can be applauded for trying something different and enough of the stories are left open that a follow-up book might be possible.