Wednesday, January 15, 2014

"The Rebellion of Miss Lucy Ann Lobdell," by William Klaber

Left pregnant and penniless by her husband in harsh 19th-century America, Lucy Lobdell survived by posing for years as a man. This unforgettable book is reduced to 99 cents for the month of January!

The Rebellion of Miss Lucy Ann Lobdell, by William Klaber
Price: $4.99 $0.99 (save 80%)
308 pages, with a 4.5-star rating from 52 reviews

"The most impressive aspect of his work is the way he developed Lucy's own personal transition of consciousness about her gender identification. He did it with a delicate respect for what had to be a troubling realization for her. Lucy's introspection about the status of women in her time is one we can all appreciate and learn from. It can teach us that differences among human beings is constant and ever deserving of understanding and compassion. Even though the story is fictionalized, I believe Klaber captured the essence of Lucy's life and an autobiography she always intended to write. Many will thank the author for this gift." -- Amazon reviewer

One day in 1855 Lucy Lobdell cut her hair, changed clothes, and went off to live her life as a man. By the time it was over, she was notorious. The New York Times thought her worthy of a lengthy obituary that began “Death of a Modern Diana . . . Dressed in Man’s Clothing She Win’s a Girl’s Love.” The obit detailed what the Times knew of Lucy’s life, from her backwoods upbringing to the dance school she ran disguised as a man, “where she won the love of a young lady scholar.” But that was just the start of the trouble; the Times did not know about Lucy’s arrest and trial for the crime of wearing men’s clothes or her jailbreak engineered by her wife, Marie Perry, to whom she had been married by an unsuspecting judge.

Lucy lived at a time when women did not commonly travel unescorted, carry a rifle, sit down in bars, or have romantic liaisons with other women. Lucy did these things in a personal quest—to work and be paid, to wear what she wanted, and to love whomever she cared to. But to gain those freedoms she had to endure public scorn and wrestle with a sexual identity whose vocabulary had yet to be invented. Lucy promised to write a book about it all, and over the decades, people have searched for that account. Author William Klaber searched also until he decided that the finding would have to be by way of echoes and dreams. This book is Lucy’s story, told in her words as heard and recorded by an upstream neighbor.

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Meet the Author

William Klaber is a part-time journalist. He lives in upstate New York on a hill overlooking Basket Creek, a short way upstream from where Lucy Lobdell lived 160 years ago.

The farmhouse he bought with his wife, Jean, in 1980 had a history with Lucy's legend, but he didn't know that till years later when he sat down for breakfast with a longtime local historian who told him Lucy's story and showed him a leather satchel filled with recollections, newspaper articles, and letters about her, gathered over the years. In this collection was a copy of a self-written account of Lucy's early life that the historian had found in an unmarked box in a library basement.

Despite his continued searching, the historian never found the memoir that Lucy had promised to write. Explaining that he had always thought to write a book of his own about Lucy but no longer felt up to it, the historian then handed the satchel to the author.

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