GENRE: Memoir, LGBTQ
a memoir about family and breaking through social and cultural norms
by Judy Kiehart
In this 2022 Best Indie Award-winning book (LGBTQ Memoir category), the question, How do we survive when who we are is not the person our family expects? is tenderly woven into the story of a young girl coming of age in the 1960s.
Judy Kiehart's Calico Lane deals with universal themes of family, acceptance, faith, and love; it is a memoir of confusion and muddled thoughts that slowly untangle as a sturdy heritage endures.
In a small Pennsylvania town, a neighborhood called The Lane is surrounded by dense woods, creeks, and rutted mining tracks. Not even the rumored child-eating spiders inside an old structure scare Judy. What frightens the ten-year-old is that someone may discover her secret.
Set in a time before sexual identity became a household phrase, Judy develops confusing emotions for an older girl, and, year after year, girl after girl, the feelings continue. Judy's friends want to kiss the boys. No one talks about girls kissing girls. Over time she fears her emotions are not typical, and if continued, will bring shame to her family and the town's Russian Orthodox Church. But harboring a secret is paralyzing.
Armed with an affable sense of humor and her mother's housekeeping principle, "everything in its place and a place for everything," Judy begins a life of pretense; after all, the best way to survive being different is to hide the truth, isn't it?