Bobby Blanchard Lesbian Gym Teacher, Written by Monica Nolan. Kensignton Books. $15.00 (USD).
Review by Ily Goyanes
First off, the title alone should tell you that this is not a serious read, but Bobby Blanchard Lesbian Gym Teacher never, for a single page, pretends to be. Author Monica Nolan pokes fun at classic lesbian pulp on every page. From the beginning of the book, when we are introduced to Bobby (“not Bobbi”) Blanchard, we are taken on a sweet ride of guilty pleasure until the last page.
Ms. Blanchard once had a promising future as professional field hockey player until she was injured in a freak drunk-diving incident. Yes, diving, not driving.
Lying in her hospital bed and pessimistic about a future without field hockey, Bobby gets the best advice of her life from her old guidance counselor: Become the new Games Mistress at Metamora Academy for Girls.
The teachers at Metamora are all referred to as Mistresses. There’s the Art Mistress, the Math Mistress, the Chemistry Mistress, and so forth. Sounds like Bobby will feel right at home, right? As soon as she steps on school grounds, the not-so-subtle hints that other teachers and students might also play for Bobby’s “team” fly around faster than a hockey puck.
Although Bobby’s appearance is never described in full detail, we know she is a butch. Her muscular biceps, abhorrence of skirts, and proclivity for sports, are all obvious signs that the beloved Games Mistress is your stereotypical butch gym teacher. The book is filled with other funny, palpable stereotypes, such as the two closeted male teachers who live together off-campus spending their time cooking and gardening, the “straight” woman “trapped” in an unhappy marriage who gets female loving on the side but would never leave her husband, and Metamora’s female student athletes who all have crushes on Bobby.
This book fleshes out the laughs with puns and innuendos throughout. Bobby speaks in sport‘s metaphors and relates everything that is going on in her love life to field hockey. Bobby’s penchant for ESPN-speak irritates Enid Butler, the Math Mistress, no end. Mistress Butler is a pedagogical intellectual who is adamant that sports are a waste of time. Of course, Enid and Bobby have instant chemistry, which we realize far before they do.
Meanwhile, Bobby is getting it on with members of the staff as well as the student body. The plot thickens when several subplots enter the playing field. There is murder, gambling, and sabotage afoot, and the only people who can solve the mystery are, of course, Bobby and Enid.
In the heyday of pulp fiction, publishers used the form to publish what would have otherwise been considered smut or pornography. Stories about lesbians, gays, and drug addicts, were not considered acceptable reading in the fifties and sixties, so to be able to read about woman-on-woman sex, you had to read a cautionary tale on the dangers of moral decay. Tales of lesbian love and sex were delivered as warnings about ‘The Wrong Kind of Love’ or ‘The Evil Friendship’.
Bobby Blanchard Lesbian Gym Teacher pokes fun at these times by using sentimental and melodramatic prose and stereotypical characters and situations, but never delves into the ‘warning’ category. Lesbian love is celebrated, and if the real world were anything like Bobby Blanchard’s world, lesbians would never need to masturbate. Bobby is constantly getting propositioned by all kinds of women, from an heiress, to students, to teachers, to alumni. If only, the real world were like life at Metamora.
When you want to read something light, entertaining, and funny, Bobby Blanchard Lesbian Gym Teacher is a sure way to score.