Journey to a Woman
First edition cover
|Series||The Beebo Brinker Chronicles|
|Genre||Lesbian pulp fiction|
|Publisher||Gold Medal Books|
|Media type||Print (Paperback)|
|ISBN||1-57344-170-8 (2003 edition)|
|OCLC||1504768 (2003 edition)|
|LC Class||PS3552.A495 J68 2003|
|Preceded by||Women in the Shadows|
|Followed by||Beebo Brinker|
Cleis Press edition cover
Journey to a Woman is a lesbian pulp fiction novel written in 1960 by Ann Bannon (pseudonym of Ann Weldy). It is the fifth in a series of pulp fiction novels that eventually came to be known as The Beebo Brinker Chronicles. It was originally published in 1960 by Gold Medal Books, again in 1983 by Naiad Press, and again in 2003 by Cleis Press. Each edition was adorned with a different cover.
As Bannon explained in the forward of the 2001 edition of Odd Girl Out, Gold Medal Press publishers had control over the cover art and the title of all the books published through them. Bannon's publisher titled the book. Lesbian pulp fiction books usually showed suggestive art with obscure titles that hinted at what the subject matter was inside.
It is preceded by Women in the Shadows and followed by Beebo Brinker chronologically, although in the course of events of the characters, this is the last in the series. Beebo Brinker, in the course of events, was written last but is set first.
Tyler Anshaw is stifled and bored in her role as wife and mother. Her husband Charlie is a successful businessman, and they live in California. He is frustrated with her lack of affection with their two children, and her unwillingness to tell him why she's unhappy after being married for nine years.
Tyler becomes intrigued by Javon Martin, a casual acquaintance. Javon is chic, a modeling instructor, and ravaged by various illnesses, alcohol, and cigarettes. Vega's modeling business in decline after a vaguely detailed scandal Beth learns, Vega and one of her students disagreed. Beth knows Vega is a lesbian and connects her attraction to her with the recurring dreams she has of Laura Landon, an affair she had in college. Vega calls Beth one evening and asks her to come to a hotel where Vega shows Beth the scars that cover her body, and Beth is repulsed by it. Vega, however, becomes emotionally dependent upon Beth over the next several months, as Beth becomes more possessed by the idea of finding Laura once more.
Beth writes to an author of several lesbian books she has been reading, Nina Spicer in New York City, who writes her back. Beth and Charlie face their inevitable separation and Beth returns to Chicago to try to find Laura, who she hasn't seen or heard from in nine years. She contacts Laura's formidable father and learns that Laura left for New York City many years before. Mr. Landon, however, wishes Beth to report back to him when she finds Laura.
In New York City, Beth starts with Nina to get her bearings on finding Laura in the gay bars and clubs of Greenwich Village. Nina plays with Beth a bit, testing her to see if she's really a lesbian or if it's a curiosity she's looking to satiate. Beth uses Nina to get to Laura, but they sleep together eventually, after which Beth learns that Vega has been committed to a mental hospital. Tired of the games Nina plays, Beth ventures to the bars to find Laura herself and finds Beebo Brinker, who is astounded to see her after considering Beth a rival for Laura's affections when they were together years ago.
Beebo points Beth in the direction of Laura and Jack's apartment. She meets Jack first and tells him why she's there, and he introduces Beth to their six-year-old daughter. The next morning she surprises Laura who falls into her arms immediately and they make love. However, after the surprise has worn off, Laura learns that Beth has left her husband and children, and now older (seemingly now older than Beth), hurt and angry still from being left long ago, asks Beth to think about the reasons why she has embarked on this journey to find her.
Beth experiments in Greenwich Village and finds herself in Beebo's apartment once more, being carried there after drinking too much. Discussing what she's done with Beebo, Beth realizes what she must face in order to know what she wants from life. Returning to her hotel, Beth encounters a deranged Vega who threatens to shoot her for leaving, but holds her hostage until she eventually turns the gun on herself. After the police interrogation, Charlie picks her up from the police station.
Beth asks for a divorce. When Charlie leaves, Beth goes to Laura to tell her what she knows about herself now. Laura greets and loves her as a friend. Another friend of Laura's now, Beebo, calls and meets them for coffee. Beebo invites her back to her apartment to live after confessing she's fallen for Beth after hating her phantom for so many years and they go together hand in hand.
Ann Bannon wrote in the foreword for the 2003 edition of Journey To A Woman that she has written, but not yet published, a sequel for this book that discusses the characters in the series, which was apparently written in 1988 initially to be titled "Applehood and Mother Pie".