Originally published 2016-06-01: A girl is torn between love of the game, loyalty to her family, and the love of another girl in Bright Lights of Summer by Lynn Ames
Late last year I was on a quest to find and read any and all LGBT/queer books barred only by the somewhat limited funds I have allotted (by my wife) for book buying. I managed to score probably twenty books in the week or so that I was on my hunt, but I haven’t gotten around to reading a lot of them.
With my dedication to #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks, however, I decided that some of those would be the ones I would choose to finally tick off my TBR list. There were a lot of amazing books to choose from sitting lonely on my shelf, so I did the only sane thing: I plucked the first one from the top of the stack and started reading.
I don’t normally read historical fiction, but I really liked the premise of Bright Lights of Summer by Lynn Ames. I’ve always loved softball/baseball, and A League Of Their Own was one of my favorite movies as a kid, so I knew I was going to get into it.
It’s March, 1941. Captain America appears in a comic book for the very first time. New York City receives 18.1 inches of snow, its 3rd largest snowfall in history. In Holland, the Nazi occupiers forbid Jews to own businesses. In Poland, Heinrich Himmler inspects Auschwitz. World War II is raging in Europe, but America has yet to enter the fray.
And in Phoenix, Arizona, a 16-year-old scrap of a girl named Theodora “Dizzy” Hosler, takes the field to try out for the World Champion P.B.S.W. Ramblers softball team.
Set against the backdrop of perhaps the most dramatic time in US history, comes the story of Diz and Frannie, two women fueled by an unquenchable passion for the game of softball and feelings for each other that go far beyond the bounds of friendship. Will their love for the game bring them closer together or tear them apart?
This story was sweet, sad, and reminded me A LOT of one of my favorite books, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe. It’s written in the same way in that the elderly woman, Diz Hosler, is recounting tales of her youth, her struggles, her love of the game and of a girl named Frannie.
Diz is a likable, naive girl of 16 at the beginning of her story. All she wants in life is to be on the Ramblers, but she’s nervous and a little unsure of herself. Her sister is already on the team, and assures her she will do fine; however, when Diz sees some of the competition, namely Frannie, she knows she’s not going to make the team – and wonders about the feelings that Frannie stirs up in her with a simple glance in her direction.
This is the story of a girl who lived in a time when same-sex relationships were not open for discussion and war raged around the world. It’s powerful and endearing; I came away adoring Diz and wishing she had a longer story to tell.
Bright Lights of Summer gets five of five stars for being sweet, courageous, funny, and reminding me of some of my old favorites. I highly recommend it to fans of any of the above-mentioned books/movies, lesfic, or lovers of the game.
This is book #13 on my quest to #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks.
These are affiliate links; click here to buy your copy, and I’ll receive a commission, but you won’t pay any extra.