Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-08-21
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

BOOKS Nina Packebush talks 'Girls Like Me'
by Rachel Pepper
2018-04-18

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Nina Packebush's first novel, Girls Like Me, breaks new ground with the story of a pregnant queer teenager, Banjo. Recently named as a recommended title by the In the Margins 2018 Book Awards, Packebush says she wrote Girls Like Me "for myself, my friends, all of the queer teen parents out there, as well as anyone who has ever felt like they don't fit in." The book was also recently nominated for a Lambda Literary Award.

"Queer teen parents absolutely never appear in books, movies, or T.V. shows," Packebush told Windy City Times. As a prior teen mother herself, she felt a special commitment to create an authentic character that would resonate with a more marginalized readership. And surprisingly, Packebush says that her book is the first to explore the experience of pregnant, queer identified teens.

Banjo's story is a heartfelt narrative accurately reflecting a young person's struggle to begin to reconcile some serious life issues. These include grappling with her lover's recent suicide, her unexpected pregnancy, a complicated home life, and the condescending attitude of judgmental adults. "I was really passionate about writing a book that didn't shy away from the tough stuff," said Packebush. "I think these are all issues that teens are facing every day." Subsequently, she handles some difficult aspects of the story—such as Banjo's mental-health hospitalization, and her self-harm tendencies, with a sensitive, youth oriented perspective. And although Packebush wrote this novel with a teen readership in mind, it has strong crossover appeal for adults.

Packebush stated "wanting to shed some light on how trauma impacts mental health." Yet her book is neither didactic nor a pity party. Girls Like Me is filled with light, life and hope, and if Banjo struggles, she is also clearly resilient, and determined to survive. As Banjo courageously looks inward, finding strength in her family, friends, and new therapist, she forges ahead in learning to use new coping skills benefiting herself and her unborn child. Banjo's emotional growth during the book also becomes the glue that unites and begins to heal her previously fractured family, consisting of an older sister, her nephew and lesbian mother.

"I am a grown-up queer teen mom and my oldest daughter was a teen mom," said Packebush. "I've experienced friends taking their own lives, poverty, and many of the other things that Banjo and her friends experience. I've taken bits and pieces from my own life, bits and pieces from the lives of my friends, and bits and pieces from the lives of some teenagers I know, and then filled in the rest with a large dose of fiction."

Packebush said she hopes readers take two messages away from Girls Like Me. She stated, "I want pregnant and parenting teenagers to realize that they are good enough parents. I want them to see that even if their lives aren't perfect, they can still parent if they want to." Secondly, she hopes that readers see that teens "don't need judgment and shame, they need celebration and support. Teens have the right to choose to parent, and if they do, we as a society need to be there for them."

Although Girls Like Me is a stand-alone novel, readers will definitely be rooting for Banjo by books' end, and wonder how she and her family fare in the future. Packebush confirms that she has been working on a sequel, which will provide a welcome opportunity for readers to follow Banjo's story further. For as mothers of any age know, in fiction and in life, pregnancy will only be the start of Banjo's journey.

Rachel Pepper is the author of several books about pregnancy and parenting, including Transitions of the Heart: Stories of Love, Struggle and Acceptance by Mothers of Transgender and Gender Variant Children. She can be reached at Rachel-Pepper.com .


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

'Savage Love Live' in Chicago on Sept. 26 2019-08-23 - Author, sex-advice columnist, podcaster, pundit, public speaker and It Gets Better co-founder Dan Savage will bring his famous column to Chicago when "Savage ...


Gay News

Bechdel Fest 7 set for Aug. 25-28 2019-08-21 - Broken Nose Theatre ( BNT ) has announced the full line-up for Bechdel Fest 7: Momentum—the company's annual festival of new short plays ...


Gay News

Goldie Goldbloom on new book, being a queer Chasidic Jew 2019-08-21 - Chicago author and queer Chasidic Jew Goldie Goldbloom's newest book is On Division. It centers on the life of Surie Eckstein in Brooklyn, ...


Gay News

MOMBIAN Pushing for inclusivity in children's books, one publisher shows how 2019-08-21 - Orca Book Publishers of British Columbia, Canada, is an independent publisher with the goal of offering "reading material that represents the diversity of ...


Gay News

BOOK REVIEW The Ghost Photographer 2019-08-21 - By Julie Rieger $25; Enliven/Atria Books; 243 pages You know how they do it. It's a snap, really. A little bit of ...


Gay News

Author Shapiro speaks at Women and Children First 2019-08-14 - Fort Lauderdale-based writer Gregg Shapiro, a native of Skokie, visited Women & Children First Bookstore in Andersonville the evening of Aug. 7. Shapiro, ...


Gay News

Women & Children First to host Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor 2019-08-13 - Women & Children First is honored to present U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor for a moderated conversation and audience Q&A followed by ...


Gay News

Women & Children First, forty years of book-selling history 2019-08-07 - To celebrate Women & Children First's 40th anniversary, the store will be hosting a summer block party with a feminist slant Saturday, Aug. ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Comic-book heroes, Cara and Ashley, Chris Pine, Pride Summit 2019-08-06 - The animated character Aquaman was confirmed to be LGBT+ on the latest episode of Young Justice: Outsiders—the DC Universe's animated show about teenage ...


Gay News

Gene Siskel Film Center to present Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am Aug. 23-29 2019-08-06 - As a venue that celebrates all art forms and a public program of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Gene ...


 



Copyright © 2019 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor


 



About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.