“No More Daddy’s Little Girl”- a book by Karen Lee.
Before i read Karen Lee’s book, i received plenty of comments pertaining to it.
Most of them were negative, criticizing aspects from grammar and style of writing to content.
I bought the book anyway, complete with her autograph on it. You never know till you read it, i thought to myself. Besides, i believe in supporting the first Singaporean lesbian autobiography. In the same train of thought [to support local queer writings], i bought the Chinese publication “tong lei” by OC. I finished the book in a couple of days, snatching moments before bedtime and during dinnertime.
The first half of the book touched on her early crushes, with a heavy emphasis on her involvement in Girls’ Brigade. Parts of the book provided information in somewhat random chunks. Sometimes the pieces were too brief to comprehend in detail. A characteristic, i surmised, as a result of length constraint. After sharing childhood memories, the story segued into her stints in Australia, Sweden and eventually Canada.
The greatest criticism was probably on content. Someone commented that the book is screwed up because Karen implied that she is gay as a result of being molested in her childhood. Indeed, in her coming out email to her parents, the uncanny pairing of the coming out declaration with the molest incident hinted at perceived causality. The person went on to say that the book gives fundies ammunition to target the lesbian population: you are gay because you are screwed up in your childhood. It was also pointed out that the book reflects badly on romantic relationships in the community. You can imagine a fundie going “look at how many flings Karen had! This is evidence that lesbian relationships are unstable.”
“She’s probably a screwed up lesbian,” was the concluding remark.
Coupled with Karen’s continuous struggles with reconciling her faith and sexuality throughout the book, it’s easy to see why some do not find the book uplifting.
But there were little entertaining bits here and there that amused me greatly. Karen’s ego and narcissism had me guffawing. Her confidence exuded from the very pages. She declared her own leadership, discipline and attractiveness. The audacity of demanding for someone’s girlfriend was appalling and amusing at the same time. In retort to any reader’s immediate question “how can you do that? She’s attached!”, Karen’s justification was one of standing up for her affections.
The book has several ingredients for a grabbing piece: horrifying incidents [e.g., lesbian almost-stabbing drama], the agony of being at odds with God, love, fleeting attractions, sex, eventual familial acceptance and so on. It’s certainly not a boring piece. No More Daddy’s Little Girl sent me through a torrent of emotions, ranging from exasperation to amusement. I raised my eyebrows, rolled my eyes, laughed and melted. I felt like i was sitting down with an acquaintance over coffee, listening to her life stories. Somewhat conversational [which might explain the writing style/grammar/sentence structure].
As i put the book down, sweetness overflowing from the last chapter on familial acceptance, i mulled over the merits and demerits of the book. Yes, i agree the book does not help the current negative stereotypes of lesbian women in Singapore. Yes, it is sad that people still attribute homosexuality to some childhood mishap. And certainly, it is rather sobering that some people cannot reconcile their sexuality and faith. But the book is about Karen’s working paradigm of her sexuality, spirituality and the world. Some lesbian women do think in such and such a way.
I define an autobiography as a life story worth a read.
As an autobiography, i think No More Daddy’s Little Girl has delivered.
A short note from Karen:
“No More Daddy’s Little Girl” is an autobio written by Karen Lee. The book is available nationwide at most major bookstores such as Borders Whee Lock, Kinokuniya (Ngee Ann City & Bugis Junction), MPH (Novena, Robinson Road,Raffles City and CityLink mall), Select Books @ Tanglin Shopping Centre and Oohtique. Also 24 POPULAR bookstore branches. Do pick up a copy to support me! Thank you!
Editor’s Note: Please note that this review is the author’s personal opinion and does not reflect the official position of Sayoni in any way.