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 2018-05-16
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



BOOKS Nina Packebush talks 'Girls Like Me'
by Rachel Pepper

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 .

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.


Gay News

MOVIES Director, writer talk star-studded 'Book Club' 2018-05-15 - Cashing in on the book club craze, four seasoned stars have come together to make a movie about relationships and starting anew. ...

Gay News

CSGS LGBTQ talk series concludes May 17 2018-05-09 - The University of Chicago's Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality ( CSGS ) will hold its LGBTQ speaker series through May. ...

Gay News

Studs Terkel Radio Archive to launch 2018-05-08 - The Studs Terkel Radio Archive ( STRA )—consisting of more than 5,600 programs in various genres created at Terkel's hometown fine arts radio ...

Gay News

Jeanne Thornton, Mecca J. Sullivan earn Markowitz Award for Emerging LGBTQ Writers 2018-05-07 - Los Angeles, CA - Lambda Literary, the nation's leading national nonprofit organization promoting LGBTQ literature, is pleased to announce that Jeanne Thornton and ...

Gay News

Women & Children First Books shares May schedule 2018-05-05 - Sunny days are here and Clark Street is bustling as the neighborhood prepares for our beloved summer traditions: the Andersonville Farmers Market ( ...

Gay News

BOOK REVIEW Tomorrow Will Be Different 2018-05-02 - By Sarah McBride. $26; Crown Archetype; 288 pages Sometimes a person's private journey fortuitously intersects with a public ferment, and quite ...

Gay News

BOOKS Gore's new tale a bewitching spin on fiction 2018-05-01 - Those who are unfamiliar with the writer Ariel Gore might think it defies all logic that she launched a stellar career from a ...

Gay News

Legendary HIV activist, writer Larry Kramer to speak at Conference on AIDS 2018-05-01 - April 24, 2018 - NMAC has announced that legendary HIV activist and writer Larry Kramer will speak at the United States Conference on ...

Gay News

Trans author/activist Reyna Ortiz talks work, new publishing company 2018-04-25 - Ever since the release of trans activist Reyna Ortiz's book, T: Stands for Truth: In search of the Queen, last fall, her life ...

Gay News

Queercore panel held at Loop library 2018-04-25 - As part of the ongoing One Book Chicago Program and Music: The Beat of Our City, the Chicago Public Library hosted a panel ...


Copyright © 2018 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.








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 produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.