Annie On My Mind by Nancy Garden

I’ll try not to repeat myself too much, but look at the diligent notes I took! I had to do them justice! But I don’t think I have enough to do  coherent review that wasn’t already covered in the discussion Anna and I had. So instead, I’ll just post the thoughts I didn’t already express. These random snippets will be full of spoilers, so I’m not going to bother making you highlight for them. Consider yourself warned.

  • Annie is a reader! Pg 75 of my copy, she says “I read a lot.”
  • It was odd, after we got introduced to Annie’s grandmother, I was steeling myself for the inevitable awfulness of when she found out that Annie is gay. That… never happened.
  • AOMM was good for seeing into Liza’s strange, sheltered little world. I come from a very different environment, and not just because it’s several decades later. For example, Liza makes her whole high school time revolve around her getting into her university of choice. I don’t think that’s quite as prevalent in Canada, or at least not in the schools I went to. Getting into a “good” university was sort of a bonus, but most of the kids from my “gifted”/whatever program ended up at one of the universities we have here, which is good, but not huge on the international  map. I never gave a second thought to what university I wanted to be in when I was in high school, but maybe that was just me.
  • Also, Liza had a very privileged life. I couldn’t believe that she got suspended and then didn’t get grounded. Especially since her dad was so mad at first. What’s the downside to being able to not have to go to school and not be grounded? That’s not a punishment! But that was about as far as punishments went in her case, and she was devestated. I’d be celebrating, and I wasn’t even a bad student.
  • I liked the idea of how her school was supposed to run, though, obviously, it would have to be without the corruption. The sort of democratic system of running it seemed like a fair way to do it.
  • I loved when Liza literally played knight in shining armor. That’s such classic lesbian-in-love.
  • Liza and Annie, but especially Liza, are very odd. The make believe, the singing at the museum, and then at some point Liza growls at a homeless person. This is not normal high school senior behavior.
  • Baxter and Poindexter are so very pathetic.
  • There are actually a lot of points in the novel that I thought were foreshadowing, but didn’t really lead to anything. “Oh no, her brother is getting suspicious! … No, no, he’s over it.”
  • Sally takes a nose dive as a character. By the end I had a seething hatred for her.
  • AOMM has a great passage that describes exactly why I’m so into lesbian lit. “I felt as if I were meeting parts of myself in the gay people I read about. Gradually, I began to feel calmer inside, more complete and sure of myself […]” My favourite part of AOMM is the literature references.
  • I got absolutely furious in my notes when Annie and Liza get caught and lectured. Some excerpts: [to Baxter] “You absolute scum”, “**** you, Sally/Walt!” “How dare you!” and later: “Suck it, Poindexter!” … I swear I’m not usually like this. It was a very emotional part of the story.
  • Another example of Liza’s strange little life: she had never lied to her parents before the whole gay thing. Never. About anything.
  • Near the end of the book, Liza writes down “Running through my head – running through my head”. Am I the only one who couldn’t help thinking of the tatu song?

Have you read Annie On My Mind? What did you think of it?

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3 thoughts on “Annie On My Mind by Nancy Garden

  1. I just read it (literally just finished it) and really loved it.
    I just read your discussion with Anna about it too and I have to say I really enjoyed it. You made a lot of good and interesting points.

    This novel was a really great read but it felt it was missing in some part. For example, I was highly intrigued by the little brother towards the end. I was not quite sure what to make of him because things kept being hinted at the reader and yet there was no real resolution, or no real explanations or anything with him. It felt unfinished about his character, as well as with Liza’s parents. It was like once the hearing was over they were dropped out of the story. Of course the story is told from Liza’s memories and recollections so that can be understood that things are left out, but as a reader I would have liked a more finished ending with them. And I don’t think she would remember nothing from her parents after the hearing.

    Also, I felt all the descriptions at each encounter of characters or rooms was mostly unnecessary. It felt really pointless and added nothing to the story…

    I quite like the cover of the book on this post. The more recent one (I assume) on the discussion post feels a bit wrong. Not that there is anything wrong about it, but the girls feel too old while in this cover they look younger, which I felt they were most of the time. I couldn’t quite convince myself that they were 17. Actually when I read your discussion I realized I actually read the entire novel assuming they were at most 15 (which is stupid of me since they were about to leave high school… though I think that’s because I drew on my own experience, and it didn’t occur to me they should be and were older).

    I quite liked the framing narrative. At times it felt like those little moments were made too sad to contrast with the past happiness but I could easily relate to Liza trying to write to Annie, so again I could easily overlooked it while reading.

    Overall I thought it was a really great novel. The girls were really cute together and I couldn’t put the novel down. I did got annoyed a bit by the descriptions or some characters that seemed a bit too stereotyped to me but it was easy to forget it while reading. It was really easy to just focus on those two girls in love and enjoying their story.

    1. I’m glad you liked our discussion! I really enjoyed doing it.

      I still feel pretty ambiguous about Annie On My Mind still. I liked it, but you’re right, it felt like something was missing. Now that you point it out, I do feel that some of the secondary characters were underutilized. I mentioned that I was surprised that we didn’t see the grandmother hearing about Annie being gay, and you point out that Liza’s family doesn’t really get a resolution, either. I guess I feel like the minor characters had arcs introduced, but never finished.

      I think I like the newer cover better aesthetically, but the older cover seems more reflective of the book.

      I’m glad I’m not the only one who thought that Annie and Liza seemed a lot younger than they were supposed to be. Again, it says that they act childish for their age, but it’s so consistent and over-the-top that I just can’t buy it.

      It’s definitely a classic lesbian book with a ton of fans, so you’re in good company! Thanks for this detailed comment, I really enjoyed hearing your thoughts.

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