The IHOP Papers
By Ali Liebegott
(Perseus Books, 2007)
Francesca lands a job as a waitress at IHOP dinner when she moves to San Francisco to follow her philosophy professor Irene, who occupies a house with her two young lovers. Francesca enters a typical Bay Area lesbian triangle, complicating her relationship with Irene by fucking her lover Jenny while trying to pry Irene from her other male lover, Gustavo. Francesca is also in love with her Maria, her AA sponsor and obsessed with Hope of Days of Our Lives, which not only adds to her twenty-year-old desperation for love but illustrates Francesca’s nagging journey into sexual identity. Liebegott writes with humor and heart and a refreshing view on a lost, young, inquisitive girl traversing multiple lovers.
Liebegott illustrates how difficult and defining it is to navigate multiple relationships as a young person and at the end of the day, she reminds us poly players not to take ourselves so seriously. Placing the setting of the book in the infamous gay, loveland of San Francisco kept the story grounded in it’s humor – Irene’s terrible vegetable scrambles, the late night diner culture and a fluid artist’s ambition that accompanies free love. Liebegott’s book inspired me to write more about my experiences opening up in a long term relationship, how my feelings about polyamory evolved over time and how I continue to create healthy, open relationships.
The next book review is for one of my favorite authors, Shay Youngblood’s “Soul Kiss.”