I adored Girl Unwrapped by Gabriella Goliger. It’s a rich piece of text about a young Jewish girl, Toni Goldblatt, growing up in 1960s Quebec. She’s torn in different directions by her multiple, at times conflicting identities. Her parents survived the Holocaust, moving to Canada from Europe and bringing with them old world views. Their attitudes towards food, education, and everything in between are a product of those experiences. Toni is a product of those serious attitudes and the rising new age of a rapidly changing world. She is attracted to women, but attempts to stifle her feelings; even outside of her traditional family, identifying as LGBTQIA+ is not accepted.
Toni’s tale takes her from Montreal as a child to Jewish summer camp as a teenager. At summer camp, she finds herself in enraptured adulation of an older, red-headed musician/camp counsellor. Toni is wholly enamoured for years after this encounter. As a young woman fresh out of high school, she pursues the musician to Israel. She arrives, envisioning encounters, both chance and planned, that inevitably lead to mutual idolatry. Yearning for existence outside of her Quebecois youth, it is back in Montreal that she finds herself in the smoky lesbian bar scene. Clothed in her father’s old suits, she explores her sexuality, finds love, loses it, and defines herself.