Cindy Rizzo’s Exception To The Rule, published 2013, is a difficult book to review. There is, certainly, a lot to admire and enjoy about it, in that it’s not just a lesbian romance that sits in its own world. It is very grounded in LGBT life and reality. While the focus is on three girls of good background and exceptional talent, the story takes us amongst the homeless and abused of New York and Boston. Neither of the two romantic leads are pure, innocent creatures; rather, they are strong-minded and intelligent young women who are sexually experienced but have never really been in love. There is clarity and honesty in the writing that makes it feel very autobiographical, and the careful detail that goes into the academic environment adds to this sense of reality.
It’s definitely worth a read, for many reasons, but I found it difficult to maintain interest. I was stuck at 49% for a long time and it took an afternoon of trains and planes to get me through to the end – I think because it’s less a story than a chronicle. The lesbian romance is stretched out over a whole year, and a collection of unnecessary epilogues – and I think I would have been tempted to end the story at exactly a year, because everything after that feels indulgent. Also, the narrative often feels more descriptive than intimate, which distances the reader.
In conclusion? I’m happy I got through to the end of it and I enjoyed it – but I wasn’t thrilled.