Annie Rachele Lanzillotto reads from L Is for Lion: An Italian Bronx Butch Freedom Memoir (SUNY Press, 2013)

This poignant memoir takes readers into a world of immigration, gay subculture, cancer treatment, mental illness, gender dynamics, drug addiction, and domestic violence — a world peopled by a vast array of Italian-American characters. In the street, Annie Lanzillotto bounced her Spaldeen ball on the stoop; inside, she tapped calls for help on the heat pipes when her father beat her mother. Later, she was forced to quit college by the discovery of a massive tumor inside her chest, a circumstance that initiated her truth-seeking journey for survival. The journey crescendos with a return home to the timeless wisdom of Lanzillotto’s immigrant grandmother, Rosa Marsico Petruzzelli.

“Annie Lanzillotto … portrays the iconic Italian-American spaces of kitchen, stoop, sidewalk, and street … and, above all, the family war zone as an uncanny intermingle of poignancy and brutality.”

— John Gennari, author of Blowin’ Hot and Cool: Jazz and Its Critics