The Queen of Gay Street
One of the most candid books I have ever read, Esther Mollica’s The Queen of Gay Street is a breath of fresh air when it comes to personal storytelling. I absolutely loved this book from cover to cover, and I found myself imagining each of Esther’s encounters along the way. The author’s strength bleeds through on every page of the book, even in times of hardship.
Esther was born and raised in the Tenderloin District of San Francisco. Her experience growing up in this neighborhood, full of homeless people and dirty streets, is just one of the things that made Esther the strong woman that she is today. Nothing was sugar-coated. Her father was abusive in more ways than one, and her mail-order bride mother would just brush off her father’s shortcomings. Esther, however, seemed to be born with an innate intelligence telling her there was more out there than her father’s porn and her mother’s QVC jewelry hoarding.
Esther meets a woman named Morgan in an online writing group and falls head over heels for her, only to find out Morgan had been lying to her for the duration of their long-term relationship. After flying to Chicago and having her heart broken by Morgan, Esther decides to set herself up for a new life. She moves to New York. From there, the reader is able to follow Esther through some really great adventures. Some of the job interviews (and jobs) she went on were so bad that they didn’t seem like they could be real. I was amazed at Esther’s will and her ability to pick up and start over when things didn’t go right. Then there was Juliet, an editor at the magazine Esther wrote for. If there was ever a messy relationship, this was it. I felt like poor Esther was really put through the wringer during this relationship as if she hadn’t already had a hard enough life as it was. There were also some really odd dates with random women thrown in there, such as the one who got mad she had to pay a dollar for Esther’s cup of tea after Esther had traveled an hour and a half to see her. The woman said now she would be short a dollar for her rent. Yikes!
As the book was coming to a close, I felt sadness for all of the truly horrific things that Esther had faced in her life. And at the same time, I felt happy for her as she ends up finding the gold at the end of the rainbow, along with all the glitter and sparkles she deserved. The Queen of Gay Street is a fascinating look into one woman’s life as a lesbian woman of color trying to make her way through this thing we call life. Thank you for sharing your story Esther.
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