I have thought long and hard about this as there are so many books which have changed me. Books like the Famous Five series which gave me escapism through books which I have taken through life with me, books like Forever which accompanied my transition from childhood to adolescence, books like A Room with a View which was the first classic I thoroughly enjoyed and related to and got me over my phobia of them.
However, I'm going to settle on Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters. I probably shouldn't as it isn't really a book that changed me, more a book that changed my opinion of myself. Sarah Waters writes absolutely beautifully, which is why her books are always big hitting best sellers.
The reason Tipping The Velvet in particular resonated with me is the subject matter. Nan and Kitty's same sex relationship is beautiful, dangerous, all consuming. Intoxicating and toxic. Set around theatres and cabaret acts, everything about it appealed to me. I'm a huge burlesque fan and love glamour, glitter, vaudeville humour and found myself drawn to Kitty in a way that Nan must have been
So how did this book change my life? Well, for many years I had known I was attracted to females as well as males. I'm happily married, and certainly not seeking any same sex relationship, but it was something surpressed inside of me, almost a dirty little secret. Tipping the Velvet changed that. I spoke openly with my husband and close friends about my feelings and their overwhelming support at my lowlevel 'coming out' was empowering and enlightening. I no longer had to hide my feelings. I could be open and honest for the first time in my life. I could be me.
And I realised that the people who mattered loved me just the same, no matter who I was attracted to.
I can't thank Sarah Waters enough for writing this book and allowing me to find the strength to be true to myself.