Review of ‘Painted Moon’ (25th Anniversary Edition) by Karin Kallmaker
This is a review for the 25th-anniversary edition of ‘Painted Moon’. I had actually assumed I read this book about a decade ago but didn’t feel like I remembered enough to fairly rate/review it when I came onto Goodreads. It’s a good thing I didn’t because I must have had this confused with another Kallmaker book. On the good side, this ended up being completely new to me instead of the refresher I was expecting. On the bad side, I can’t comment on if there were any little changes that this updated version went though.
What I can speak to is that this book still takes place in the ’90s. Kallmaker did not modernize this story. The author mentions how it was an unusual time to be queer. There was more focus on rights and visibility for the LGBTQ community, but there was no marriage and the rights to protect us were only just being discussed, not in actual place yet. This is one of those classic lesfic books from the ’90s and I’m glad it stayed that way. So for me, this didn’t feel dated, it just felt like I read a book that took place in that decade.
I do want to mention there are two bonus short stories added to the end of the book. One short was originally from an anthology named ‘Frosting on the Cake’. The other short, which was the longer of the two, is all new which Kallmaker wrote just for this 25th edition. The short took place in current times and it was nice to see what has happened to the characters. I thought both shorts were about average but not quite as good as the main story. However, I can’t really compare two short stories to a full-length book so it was a nice bonus and I have no complaints.
If you are like me and missed this classic, I believe it is worth the read. One, it is good to read some of the books that were the stepping stones to how wonderful lesfic is now and two, it’s a good story. I do know that Kallmaker has really grown as an author in the 25 years since this book was written, but it holds up. The feelings between the characters might be a little accelerated and the angst is mostly due to no-communication (which I normally hate) but the chemistry and intimate scenes were everything I was hoping for. I can’t even imagine how I would have felt reading this book 25 or even 20 years ago. It would have wrecked me in the best way possible.
If you are interested in reading some of the lesbian classic books written by the women that helped shape lesfic to what it is today, don’t hesitate to grab this. I’m really glad I read this and I enjoyed it more than I expected. I wish I had extra time so I could really dig more into Kallmaker’s back library. I know I’m missing out on some good ones. 3.75 Stars.
An ARC was given to me for an honest review.