Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-12-13
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Prairie Silence
BOOK REVIEW
by Terri Schlichenmeyer
2013-04-03

This article shared 585 times since Wed Apr 3, 2013
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


by Melanie Hoffert. $24.95; Beacon Press; 238 pages.

The faces in the pictures look back at you with hopeful, aching eagerness.

Ah, your high school annual is such a trove of memories. There you are at Senior Skip Day, making goofy faces. There's a picture of the class black sheep, now the president of the local bank; remembrances of prom, homecoming, first kisses and team spirit.

You haven't seen a lot of those kids since you graduated. Sometimes, you wonder if you really ever knew them. As in the new book Prairie Silence by Melanie Hoffert, you wonder if you ever really knew anything.

It may've seemed like the kind of idle conversation that friends have when they've known one another for ages, but Hoffert was dead-serious when she told her friend, Melissa, that they should return together to the prairie.

Hoffert surprised herself with her longing for home. She'd hated growing up on an isolated farm in North Dakota, 10 miles from grocery stores, three miles from playmates, a half days' drive to a major city. She hated small-town life then but, sitting in a cold office in Minneapolis, she realized how much she missed the farm and, most of all, harvest-time.

So she took a leave of absence from the job she loved. She wanted to be a farmer again. She wanted to touch the past.

But in reconnecting with memories of vast openness and the kind of silence that comes when neighbors are miles apart, Hoffert also rediscovered who she was, years ago. She knew at a young age that she was different from other girls: she figured she'd eventually kiss a boy, but she yearned for another kind of love. She dreamed of holding hands with a woman, and she became smitten with her best high school friend, Jessica.

Hoffert knew she couldn't talk about that to anyone on the prairie. That sort of thing just wasn't.

Coming home to North Dakota, she remembered that puppy love. She remembered how Jessica led her to Jesus, and the turmoil it created when she was told that homosexuality was a sin. She recalled her family, and marveled at how much had changed.

And she remembered neighbors: the ones who asked if she found a "fella" yet; corn farmers; homesteaders and homemakers; caretakers of the land.

When it comes to this books' title, "Prairie Silence" couldn't be more apt.

Author Melanie Hoffert has written a sure love letter to a land and its people, but it's love spurned and unrequited, as well as love held fast. In between Hoffert's sweet-yet-angst-driven memories and her journey of self-rediscovery, readers are treated to quiet reverence for a disappearing way of life, for faith that just couldn't last, and for folks who—to her surprise—never discouraged Hoffert from being who she was.

This is a gorgeous book that evokes quiet country mornings and loud self-examination, and this former farm girl enjoyed it thoroughly. If you once believed that you can't truly ever go home again, Prairie Silence is a book you'll be eager to read.

Want more? Then look for Does Jesus Really Love Me?: A Gay Christian's Pilgrimage in Search of God in America by Jeff Chu.


This article shared 585 times since Wed Apr 3, 2013
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

Out and Aging
Presented By

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Gerber/Hart Library and Archives holds third annual Spring Soiree benefit 2024-04-19
- Gerber/Hart Library and Archives (Gerber/Hart) hosted the "Courage in Community: The Gerber/ Hart Spring Soiree" event April 18 at Sidetrack, marking the everyday and extraordinary intrepidness of the entire LGBTQ+ ...


Gay News

BOOKS Frank Bruni gets political in 'The Age of Grievance' 2024-04-18
- In The Age of Grievance, longtime New York Times columnist and best-selling author Frank Bruni analyzes the ways in which grievance has come to define our current culture and politics, on both the right and left. ...


Gay News

Women & Children First marks its 45th anniversary 2024-04-11
By Tatiana Walk-Morris - It has been about 45 years since Ann Christophersen and Linda Bubon co-founded the Women & Children First bookstore in 1979. In its early days, the two were earning their English degrees at the University of ...


Gay News

UK's NHS releases trans youth report; JK Rowling chimes in 2024-04-11
- An independent report issued by the UK's National Health Service (NHS) declared that children seeking gender care are being let down, The Independent reported. The report—published on April 10 and led by pediatrician and former Royal ...


Gay News

Judith Butler focuses on perceptions of gender at Chicago Humanities Festival talk 2024-04-10
- In an hour-long program filled with dry humor—not to mention lots of audience laughter—philosopher, scholar and activist Judith Butler (they/them) spoke in depth on their new book at Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport Ave., on ...


Gay News

Kara Swisher talks truth, power in tech at Chicago Humanities event 2024-03-25
- Lesbian author, award-winning journalist and podcast host Kara Swisher spoke about truth and power in the tech industry through the lens of her most recent book, Burn Book: A Tech Love Story, March 21 at First ...


Gay News

RuPaul finds 'Hidden Meanings' in new memoir 2024-03-18
- RuPaul Andre Charles made a rare Chicago appearance for a book tour on March 12 at The Vic Theatre, 3145 N. Sheffield Ave. Presented by National Public Radio station WBEZ 91.5 FM, the talk coincided with ...


Gay News

Without compromise: Holly Baggett explores lives of iconoclasts Margaret Anderson and Jane Heap 2024-03-04
- Jane Heap (1883-1964) and Margaret Anderson (1886-1973), each of them a native Midwesterner, woman of letters and iconoclast, had a profound influence on literary culture in both America and Europe in the early 20th Century. Heap ...


Gay News

There she goes again: Author Alison Cochrun discusses writing journey 2024-02-27
- By Carrie Maxwell When Alison Cochrun began writing her first queer romance novel in 2019, she had no idea it would change the course of her entire life. Cochrun, who spent 11 years as a high ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Women's college, banned books, military initiative, Oregon 2023-12-29
- After backlash regarding a decision to update its anti-discrimination policy and open enrollment to some transgender applicants, a Catholic women's college in Indiana will return to its previous admission policy, per The National Catholic Reporter. In ...


Gay News

NATIONAL School items, Miami attack, Elliot Page, Fire Island 2023-12-22
- In Virginia, new and returning members of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and Fairfax County School Board were inaugurated—with some school board members opting to use banned books on the topics of slavery and LGBTQ+ ...


Gay News

Chicago author's new guide leads lesbian fiction authors toward inspiration and publication 2023-12-07
- From a press release: Award-winning and bestselling lesbian fiction author Elizabeth Andre—the pen name for a Chicago-based interracial lesbian couple—has published her latest book, titled Self-Publishing Lesbian Fiction, Write Your ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Tenn. law, banned books, rainbow complex, journalists quit 2023-12-01
- Under pressure from a lawsuit over an anti-LGBTQ+ city ordinance, officials in Murfreesboro, Tennessee removed language that banned homosexuality in public, MSNBC noted. Passed in June, Murfreesboro's "public decency" ordinance ...


Gay News

BOOKS Lucas Hilderbrand reflects on gay history in 'The Bars Are Ours' 2023-11-29
- In The Bars Are Ours (via Duke University Press), Lucas Hilderbrand, a professor of film and media studies at the University of California-Irvine, takes readers on a historical journey of gay bars, showing how the venues ...


Gay News

BOOKS Owen Keehnen takes readers to an 'oasis of pleasure' in 'Man's Country' 2023-11-27
- In the book Man's Country: More Than a Bathhouse, Chicago historian Owen Keehnen takes a literary microscope to the venue that the late local icon Chuck Renslow opened in 1973. Over decades, until it was demolished ...


 


Copyright © 2024 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.

All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.