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MacLean, Judy 1946- (Judy Ellen MacLean)

MacLean, Judy 1946- (Judy Ellen MacLean)

PERSONAL:

Born May 13, 1946, in Los Angeles, CA; daughter of Frederick Malcolm and Dorothy Clara MacLean; partner of Kathy Hess (a therapist), since May 25, 1996. Education: Rice University, B.A., 1969. Hobbies and other interests: Backpacking, hiking, sea kayaking, and activism for peace, the environment, and human rights.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Berkeley, CA. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Freelance writer, journalist, and editor. As a journalist, has worked at In These Times, Advocate, and Blazing Star.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Golden Crown Literary Award, Golden Crown Literary Society, 2005, for Rosemary and Juliet.

WRITINGS:

Rosemary and Juliet (novel), Alice Street Editions (New York, NY), 2003.

Contributor to anthologies, including Women Take Care: The Consequences of Caregiving in Today's Society, edited by Tish Sommers and Laurie Shields, Triad, 1987. Contributor to periodicals, including San Francisco Examiner, Funny Times, Washington Post, and San Francisco Chronicle.

SIDELIGHTS:

Judy MacLean is an American freelance writer, editor, and former journalist. Born in Los Angeles, MacLean completed her higher education at Houston's Rice University. As a journalist, MacLean wrote for In These Times, Advocate, and Blazing Star. MacLean went on to contribute her writing and editing abilities for a number of nongovernmental organizations by writing their newsletters, fundraising materials, annual reports, and informational brochures. MacLean works closely with a number of organizations, primarily focusing on issues of human rights, the environment, gay and lesbian equality, social justice, and peace. She has also contributed her writing to a number of anthologies on nonfiction topics, general commentary, and humor.

In 2003 MacLean published her first novel, Rosemary and Juliet, which won the 2005 Golden Crown Literary Award. A play on Shakespeare's tragedy Romeo and Juliet, the novel introduces two teenage girls and the difficulties they face in sharing their love for each other in the small town of Divido. Rosemary Arden, often known as Romey, is the only openly lesbian at her high school and has the support and understanding of her mother, Janis, an ex-hippie who runs a pro-choice women's clinic in a nearby town. Julie Wright is the daughter of Divido's fundamentalist minister, and who is beginning to try to understand her sexuality, something she calls her "Yearning." She is also very involved in the church and its choir and proud of her father's position in the community. Romey and Julie meet at a carnival and the sparks ignite. For Romey, it is clear, but the more-naive Julie tries to understand her feelings, fully aware of the church's position on same sex relationships. When Reverend Wright discovers the relationship between his daughter and Romey, he hires Dr. Oberholzer to "treat" Julie with a form of electroshock therapy before she is lost to sin. MacLean contrasts the attitude of Romey's mother with that of the Wright family, adding issues of contemporary concern, such as sexuality-motivated hate crimes and homophobia.

The setting of the story is a small-town community where longtime residents with a conservative religious outlook clash with liberal newcomers. Arlene Germain, writing in the Midwest Book Review, thought that "MacLean's choice of setting enhances the reality of the story." Germain remarked that "MacLean has a straightforward style of writing." She added that "the pacing makes it a very readable book." Concluding the review, Germain stated: "This novel is one that movingly and passionately demands consideration, discussion, and scrutiny. There are admonitions here to be heeded by everyone, especially by those individuals whose lives are affected by the very subject matter of the story. MacLean's direct and unvarnished telling of this poignant tale is well worth reading."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Left Bank Books Newsletter, August, 2005, review of Rosemary and Juliet.

Midwest Book Review, July, 2005, Arlene Germain, review of Rosemary and Juliet.

Reviewer's Bookwatch, May 1, 2005, Lori L. Lake, review of Rosemary and Juliet.

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