Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Review: Alice + Freda Forever

Alice + Freda Forever: A Murder in Memphis
by Alexis Coe


In 1892, America was obsessed with a teenage murderess, but it wasn’t her crime that shocked the nation – it was her motivation. 

Nineteen-­‐year-­‐old Alice Mitchell planned to pass as a man and marry seventeen-­‐year-­‐old Freda Ward, but when their love letters were discovered, they were forbidden to ever speak again. 

Desperate and isolated, Alice pilfered her father’s razor, and on a cold winter’s day, she slashed her ex-­‐fiancĂ©e’s throat. Alice + Freda Forever, by Alexis Coe and illustrated by Sally Klann, is a tragic love story with more than 100 illustrated primary sources. 

More than 120 years later, the tragic but true love story of Alice and Freda is finally being told. Publishing in October and embellished with letters, maps, historical documents, and more, Alexis Coe’s Alice + Freda Forever marks a seminal point in the history of same-­‐sex relationships in the U.S., and is not to be missed.


I was offered the opportunity to read more ZestBooks after reading and reviewing Tomboy - of course I said yes! My background is in Clinical Psychology, so this story definitely caught my attention. The story of a 19 y/o girl loving another girl in 1892 is already a story worthy of attention, but add in the murder aspect and you have quite an investigation story on your hands.

Coe has done a fantastic job of weaving together Alice and Freda's stories along with a thorough research investigation as to people's motives, relationships and their perspectives. The book grabbed my attention and kept it from start to finish. It was eye-opening to realize how the label "insanity" could be placed on anything that society doesn't understand (I'm not talking about the murder here). As I type this, I'm thinking that I could apply that statement now as well [to some people].


I believe that anyone interested in true crime or has a background in Psychology would really enjoy this book. However, anyone looking for a great story will be highly satisfied!

About the Author

Alexis Coe is a columnist at The Awl and The Toast. She has contributed to The AtlanticSlateThe MillionsThe HairpinLA WeeklyThe Bay CitizenMission at TenthThe Paris Review Daily, Los Angeles Review of Books and other publications. Before moving to San Francisco, she was a research curator at the New York Public Library, where she co-curated the most popular exhibition in the library's 101 years, and a project-based oral historian at the Brooklyn Historical Society. 

This is a captivating account, and readers will quickly become absorbed in the suspense surrounding Freda’s murder. Additionally, the book provides a foundation for discussion of sociocultural themes, such as how LGBT relationships have historically been viewed by society, gender and femininity, and even journalism.” –★ School Library Journal [Starred Review] 

Alice + Freda Forever: A Murder in Memphis links:
 Alice + Freda Forever on IndieBound: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9781936976607
 Alice + Freda Forever on The Book Depository (for those readers outside of the USA, this site offers free shipping internationally to any country) http://www.bookdepository.com/Alice-Freda-Forever-Alexis-Coe/9781936976607
 Alice + Freda Forever on the Zest Books site has “buy now” options: http://zestbooks.net/alice-and-freda-forever/
 Alice + Freda Forever on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20256746
 Alice + Freda Forever on Library Thing: https://www.librarything.com/work/15235499 

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