Book Cover for 'Forgive Me If I've Told You This Before By Karelia Stetz-Waters'Express yourself so you can respect yourself…

Triinu Hoffman wants out.

But rural Oregon in the nascent ‘90s is not especially cordial to the lesbians in its locale, so perhaps Madonna was not wise to advise, “Express yourself so you can respect yourself.”

At fourteen, Triinu is diffident, quiescent, and acquiescent. It would be so much easier if she could just swallow her pride and swim with the tide. But this option tried and untrue is the wrong choice for Triinu, who wants only to be herself, find herself, and find someone like herself.

Maybe she’s Madonna material after all. At the very least, she’s girlfriend material, although Ursula Benson doesn’t seem to see her that way. Offbeat, upbeat, pro-gay, and quasi-queer, Ursula is not nearly as dependable as Triinu’s station wagon, but she does have Triinu’s heart turning over like its engine.

The girls’ relationship may be tenuous and ambiguous, but Triinu holds out hope that one of these days, she’ll be on cloud nine. Instead, she finds herself stressed to the nines: besides the bullying, she braves at school, Triinu now faces the possible passing of Ballot Measure 9, a profligate attempt by the Oregon Citizens Alliance to excoriate homosexuality and institutionalize homophobia.

As the personal becomes political, can Triinu, the singular goth dyke in the Grass Seed Capital of the World, come out and stay out, come what may?

Author Karelia Stetz-Waters tells this semi-autobiographical story with humour, humility, and agility. In Triinu, readers will relate to a protagonist who is honest and honourable, visible but not risible, resolute when others are dissolute.

Follow your pride and cross paths with this Oregon trailblazer.

If you don’t, you won’t forgive yourself.