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Book Review: Last Night At the Telegraph Club

“ Lily felt as if her thoughts must be written in plain English on her face. Are you like the girls in the book too? Because I think I am.” -Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo📝


This past week, ever since the shooting, has been a difficult week for me - bye bye car, and even though I am on BG, lurking here and there, I haven’t had the desire to post. The guilt I feel of my lack of wanting to post, especially with the Asian community wanting to raise more awareness this week, is something I can’t shake off, but I think I’m beyond exhausted, trying to encourage people to LISTEN to US! It took innocent lives for you to finally “SEE” us, but we’ve been here all along.

One great thing that happened, I FINALLY finished Last Night at the Telegraph Club. I loved the book, so I’m unsure why it took me forever to finish. This book set in SF in the 1950s is about closeted queer love and racism and discrimination against the Asian community set in the backdrop of Cold War. To be a queer woman in the 1950s must have been so hard, but to be a queer Asian woman.. My heart went out to Lily, Chinese-American who only felt safe in Chinatown, yet dreamed of wanting more. She knew what her heart wanted, but dealt with so much internal conflict, knowing she’d never receive support from her family for her queerness, yet, afraid of fully coming out because of the looming threat of her parents’ citizenship. Her being Chinese is already a threat, but being a queer Chinese was.. unacceptable.

What I LOVED about this book the most was the way Lo wrote about intimate relationships without graphic sex scenes. Lily and Kath’s discreet stares, the way Lily stood behind Kath, to protect her when bowling so creepy men wouldn’t start at her legs, their quick yet urgent notes for each other, the desperate longing to just be with each other.. Their intimacy was written in a way that convinced me of their love without tons of sex.

While I did think some parts were slow, overall, I loved this book. Lo knows how to write a love story and I will be thinking of Kath, Lily and the Hu family for a long time. Please read Author’s Note at the end❤

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