Lori from Flint, Michigan

When I was 16 and struggling with what it meant to be in love with another girl, the library gave me an alternative narrative from the one that I was developing - that I was a total freak.

Understanding what it means to be gay when you are a young teenager growing up in a small town in Michigan - especially then, the 70's - wasn't easy. There were no aunts or uncles or friends or Ellen or Modern Family. There was just me, my secret girlfriend, and our feelings.

Even though I didn't feel that loving someone else could possibly be wrong, that wasn't the message I got from anywhere else, including my church. So, as soon as I got my driver's license, I went to a nearby town, a bigger town that had a bigger library and I researched the topic.

I found the book Patience and Sarah, the story of two women who loved each other and had a normal life. For the first time, I read a story about people like me. It was so familiar and so comforting. For the first time, I was given an image of a normal life that even I could lead.

Thank you so much for having that book. It may not have saved my life but it certainly made the world a less scary place and helped me shed the shame that was being heaped upon me outside of the library.