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May 22, 2018

Maxine Wore Black


Edited: May 23, 2018

Maxine Wore Black by Nora Olsen ’93. At nineteen, Jayla, the transgender narrator and protagonist, is propelled into the adult world of love she is anxiously hoping for when she meets Maxine at the Queer Prom. Upfront we learn that this novel, a retelling of Rebecca, is a homage to Daphne Du Maurier. But instead of Manderly, we have a posh home on Fire Island which belongs to the family of Maxine’s (here’s trouble) girlfriend. You might want to read this one, so spoiler alert: Maxine makes Maxim (of Rebecca) look like a choir boy. Nora’s matter-of-fact treatment of Jayla’s transition is surely empowering to trans youths who are dealing with the same issues all alone. The cis world also gets to cut through prejudice and see Jayla as she sees herself.

You’ll be looking for those characters from Rebecca, especially Mrs. Danvers. Nora does not disappoint.


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