This review is part of the series of reviews of asexual fiction published by LT3 press which I am doing for Asexual Awareness Week. Today is double-review day, and the review of Lone Star on a Cowboy Heart has already been posted. This is the second review of the day, We Go Forward.
So, What Is This Story About?
Rosalyn has never left Melbourne before. Naturally, this means she goes by herself all the way to to the other side of the world, Berlin. She has a hostel booked for a few days, and is going to return to Melbourne in about three months, but other than that, she has no plans.
Christie is also from Melbourne, but she’s been in Europe for about two years, ever since her father died and she inherited his money.
They happen meet each other in Berlin and hit it off.
What Kind of Sexual and/or Violent Content Does This Story Have, If Any?
Basically none. There are references to violence – for example, the protagonists visit Dachau (yes, the concentration camp), but nothing violent or sexual happens in the story itself.
Tell Me More about This Novel
Hmmmm, this is a novel about young women who spent most of their lives in a single English-speaking cosmopolitan city and then went to a different hemisphere for budget travel, and one of them stayed in that hemisphere, in non-English-speaking countries. And one of them is even aware that she is asexual and aromantic. Does this sound like something I’ve done? (For those of you who don’t know me, yes, I spent most of my life in a cosmopolitan English-speaking city, and yes, as a young woman I went to a different hemisphere – alone – and spent a few years living in a non-English-speaking country, and I did this while identifying as asexual and aromantic).
I could relate to a lot of the content of this novel, especially Christie’s POV because I have a lot more in common with her experiences than with Rosalyn’s experiences. Sometimes, that meant I was thinking ‘awww, it’s cute how inexperienced these protagonists are.’ Sometimes, that meant I was thinking ‘hey, this is a little like this thing that happened to me.’ On the one hand, I like the milieu, on the other hand, I am a bit jaded.
I admit that I felt that the ending is a bit … inconclusive. I cannot be more specific than that without getting into spoiler territory.
On the asexuality content scale described in the introduction, I would rate this as a 3.
Asexuality first comes up in the story in this passage, written from Christie’s point of view:
“Sorry,” she says. “You’re not into girls?”
“I’m not into anyone.” I shrug. “I’m asexual, and aromantic.”
“Ohhhh.” She laughs once at herself. “Sorry, my bad. I’m not very good at reading situations.”
“S’fine. I’m actually surprised that I don’t have to explain it to you?”
Usually me coming out is followed by a barrage of weird questions and me leaving, or kicking people out. And the same things repeated: maybe you just haven’t found the blah, blah, blah. Ugh, spare me.
“I might not know a lot, but I know a lot about queer things.” She gives me a knowing look, then drinks more wine.
And I’ve been included in the queer umbrella. I definitely need to be friends with her. Or maybe I need to stop clinging to the first person who isn’t a complete jerk.
So there you have it – Christie is asexual and aromantic.
For the most part, this story is not about asexuality. I suspect that Christie’s loneliness issues have as much to do with her dad being dead as with her asexuality/aromanticism, though being asexual/aromantic is also a contributing factor (and also – this is mostly speculation on my part, since this is not really discussed in the story – maybe Christie’s non-fluency in German is also a factor, though maybe not if most of the Germans/Swiss she has encountered can speak decent English).
There is more to say about how asexuality is depicted in this novel, but as it often is, that’s in spoiler territory.
Was This Written by an Asexual?
I don’t know.
Hey Sara, Do You Like This Story?
Yes, I do. The fact that there are a lot of parallels between my life experiences and Christie’s life experiences definitely complicated my reaction to this story. There is a lot I recognize, which I like. At the same time, there are some major differences between me and Christie (for example, I have never been to the southern hemisphere, let alone Melbourne).
Tomorrow will be the final review for Asexual Awareness Week, and instead of reviewing a novel(la), I am going to review a series, The Zhakieve Chronicles by A.M. Valenza.