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 2019-03-13
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

NATIONAL Couples' eviction, Pete Buttigieg, Cory Booker, dancer sentenced 2019-03-20 - A lesbian couple filed a complaint against the transitional housing facility they once called home after they were forced out, LGBTQ Nation reported. ...


Gay News

BOOK REVIEW Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls 2019-03-17 - By T Kira Madden $27; Bloomsbury Publishing; 304 pages Anyone who came of age in the late 1990s and early 2000s ...


Gay News

BOOK REVIEW Dugan's Bistro and the Legend of the Bearded Lady 2019-03-15 - By Owen Keehnen $17; Out Tales, Publishing; 148 pages Bob Theiss contained multitudes—most under a completely different name. Known as the Bearded ...


Gay News

Clarence Darrow Symposium in Chicago on March 13 2019-03-13 - CHICAGO—The annual Chicago tradition marking the anniversary of the death of famed Chicago attorney Clarence Darrow will take place Wed., March 13—and will ...


Gay News

Gerber/Hart hosts Black Lesbian Archives stop 2019-03-12 - Kru Maekdo is a 26-year-old creative director, archivist, and artist. She is the owner of Maekdo Productions, a multimedia production and event programming ...


Gay News

BOOKS Chicago author talks space opera, queer representation 2019-03-09 - Chicago author/Hollywood stuntwoman SL Huang ( author of the science-fiction novel Zero Sum Game ) has recently teamed with fellow authors Becky Chambers ...


Gay News

BOOKS Kimberly Dark's 'Daddies' issues 2019-03-08 - Writer and raconteur Kimberly Dark plucks the fig leaf off the patriarchy in her latest work. In The Daddies, writer and raconteur Dark ...


Gay News

BOOKS Sissy Pride, Talking With Gender Activist and Author Jacob Tobia 2019-03-07 - Sissy: A Coming of Gender Storyis a smart, compelling, honest and very funny new memoir by Jacob Tobia. In the book, the ...


Gay News

Women & Children First March events include noted authors 2019-03-06 - Wednesday, March 6 at 7 p.m. Am I Man Enough? Storytelling Show & Podcast ( This is the rescheduled date due ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Tyler Blackburn, Ellen Page, Isaac Mizrahi, Annie Lennox 2019-03-06 - Former Pretty Little Liars actor Tyler Blackburn recently talked with Entertainment Weekly about the same-sex relationship his character, Alex, has on the new ...


 



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
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.