EVELYN HOOKER AND THE FAIRY PROJECT

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This straightforward historical retelling follows the life of Evelyn Hooker, a straight White woman born in Nebraska in 1907, her studies and career in psychology, and the impact of her work to depathologize homosexuality. Some detours explain antisemitism and Hitler’s Germany (Hooker was staying with a Jewish family in Berlin at the time), the cultural context of tuberculosis, and advances in feminism predominantly benefitting White women. Hooker’s pioneering research at UCLA was pivotal in the American Psychiatric Association’s 1973 decision to remove homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The story is often interrupted by a variety of poetic forms, ranging from found poems to limericks to a sonnet, which distract more than they engage. A helpful note at the beginning of this book reminds readers that, “Language is fluid, and the terminology used to describe sexual orientation has evolved over time to be more specific and respectful,” but given the era and the events described, the work uses “labels like ‘homosexual’ and ‘homosexuality’ in a historical context, and refers mostly to ‘gay people’ or ‘gay men,’ rather than the diverse array of identities we appreciate today.” On the whole, this offers helpful material for young researchers and audiences curious about LGBTQ+ history. Spot art and floral page decorations appear throughout.

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