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Literature / Annie on My Mind

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A 1982 novel by Nancy Garden.

Liza Winthrop, 17, first meets Annie Kenyon, also 17, at the Metropolitan Art Museum in New York, where she's gone to work on an assignment. Both Liza and Annie are avid museum browsers. Both love medieval lore and history, and both have a flare for the dramatic. They are instantly drawn to each other, and their friendship grows quickly and deeply.

Liza attends an exclusive prep school, Annie a public high school in a working class area where she lives with her Italian immigrant family. Liza is student body president and a much respected leader. As the relationship deepens, both girls begin to realize with some trepidation that there's a dimension to it they didn't expect. Annie realizes before Liza that their attraction is sexual as well as spiritual. Liza finds she has some hard thinking and reading to do about homosexuality.


Their relationship becomes public in a traumatic way when, housesitting for two teachers at Liza's school (who, they discover, are lesbians, though the fact has never been made public) they are discovered by a punitive administrator who dismisses the two teachers and threatens Liza with expulsion. She is reinstated by the board of trustees, but emotional stress with peers and family remain to be worked out.

Ultimately, she finds she can let go of friendships that falter on this issue, and her family supports her, though her parents have to work through their own ambivalence. Annie goes to Berkeley, Liza to MIT, and after some months of silence, they resume contact with hope of reviving a relationship they still cherish, perhaps the more for the lessons it's brought with it.

This book is notable for being one of the first novels to paint lesbians in a positive light - where they weren't cured, the enemy, or killed. This was... controversial, to say the least; it made the list of most frequently banned books for the next three decades, and it was at one point publicly burnt in Kansas City. Nevertheless, it continues to influence modern LGBT authors, and it's still somewhat popular.



  • Gayngst: Granted, it's not exactly unwarranted, considering all the shit the girls (especially Liza) go through.
  • Genki Girl: Annie
  • Headbutt of Love: Liza and Annie on some of the editions of the cover.
  • How We Got Here Most of the story is just Liza remembering her relationship with Annie from her point of view.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Sally at the end. Like so many people at the time, she genuinely believes homosexuality is a mental illness that needs to be cured, and won't listen when Liza tries to explain otherwise.
  • Last Het Romance: Prior to meeting Liza, Annie had tried dating a boy, but it didn't work out because she isn't into men.
  • Meet Cute: They meet when Liza finds Annie singing in a corner of the Metropolitan. Annie then convinces Liza to act out a swordfight in the Arms and Armor hall. They own this trope.
  • Mentor in Queerness: Reluctantly played by two of Annie's teachers after they're Forced Out of the Closet. They also act as unintentional encouragement on what Liza doesn't want her relationship with Annie to be: she wants to grow old with Annie, but she doesn't want to stuck in a closeted Secret Relationship.
  • Moment Killer: A couple when Annie and Liza are about to get a bit more intimate. Sometimes, they bring it on themselves on purpose.
  • Nobody Over Fifty Is Gay: Subverted—the main characters are seventeen, but two of Liza's female teachers, who we can assume are in their late forties or early fifties, are in a relationship.
  • Oblivious to Love: Liza reveals that she suspects she had some lesbian tendencies before discovering she was a lesbian, but she just never stopped to thing about them until after kissing Annie for the first time.
  • Official Couple: Who else but Annie and Liza?
  • Opposites Attract: Downplayed, as Liza is logical, academic and mathematical, whereas Annie is creative, free-spirited, and artistic. However, both girls are deeply intelligent and passionate, and bond plenty over that.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: The Trustee board. They openly stop every attempt from Ms. Baxter and Mrs. Poindexter of disrespecting Liza during the hearing at the end of the story.
  • Romantic Two-Girl Friendship: Liza's parents think her friendship with Annie is this.
  • Schoolgirl Lesbians: The girls are seniors in high school when they meet and fall in love.
  • Secret Relationship: Liza and Annie do this for awhile. It becomes public at the worst possible moment.
  • Their First Time
  • They Do: ...eventually. Word of God says they remain together after the story ends.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: For the first third or so.
  • Uptown Girl: Liza is from a wealthy area in Brooklyn and attends an elite private school, while Annie lives in a small apartment in Manhattan and attends an underfunded public school. This is an early source of tension in the relationship — Annie feels insecure about the class difference, while Liza is okay with it but unsure of how to act.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Liza and Sally were never close friends, exactly, but Liza did genuinely like her. After Liza is outed, however, Sally turns on her — and then becomes determined to "cure" Liza.


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