The IHOP Papers


Ali Liebegott


Review By Casey Miles


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Ali Liebegott is part of a new trend in queer writing that uses a frighteningly honest and conversational storytelling style, as if the writer and reader are sitting on the front stoop of a downtrodden

San Francisco walk-up sharing stories and passing a beer. The reader becomes witness and confidant to the inner workings of a co-dependent lesbian who finds herself in love with all the wrong women.

Francesca, the narrator and main character of
The IHOP Papers, is a more than disgruntled waitress by night/writer by day, working the night-shift for a measly living. She is as smart as she is endearingly naive. What brings her to San Francisco is an intense crush on her philosophy professor, Irene, who is in a polyarmorous relationship with two of her former students, Jenny and Gustavo. Upon Francie's arrival they all live in Simplicity House, a communal living experience based on green living, honesty, and the phrase, "All work is meditation."

Despite the good intentions of this living situation, it is bound to create an atmosphere of thick tension. And as the narrator, Francie captures the awkward, and quite dramatic, interpersonal relationships of the group from the perspective of an outside observer, and later a peripheral participant. All while treating the reader to a behind the scenes perspective of an IHOP waitress, a recovering alcoholic, a co-dependent dyke, a person who self injures, and a virgin all wrapped into one person.

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