Though my life growing up as a heterosexual, cis-gender white woman in the Midwest is worlds away from that of Juliet Milagros Palante, who describes herself as a “closeted Puerto Rican baby-dyke from the Bronx”(5), I think anyone with a heart and a soul can relate to this coming of age story. Even more importantly, everyone can learn from it.
The year is 2003 and 19-year-old Juliet is about to spend a chunk of her first summer home from college far away from her Bronx neighborhood. She is going to Portland, Oregon to intern as an assistant to the feminist writer, Harlowe Brisbane, whose book, Raging Flower: Empowering Your Pussy by Empowering Your Mind, had such a powerful effect on Juliet when she first read it that she immediately wrote to the author, asking for an opportunity to work with her.
Though Juliet cannot quite believe her good fortune in being chosen, her trip to Portland is complicated by two things. She decided to come out to her family right before she left (and that did not go as well as she had hoped) and her girlfriend, Lainie, who is doing an internship in Washington DC, has not responded to her texts in several days.
Still, Juliet dives into this new experience, immersing herself into the world inhabited by Harlowe Brisbane and her friends and tackling a vague research project involving a box full of scraps of paper with the names of women on them. Her summer will involve love, heartbreak, betrayal, and acceptance but most of all it will involve Juliet discovering herself and her voice.