What are the themes in "River of Names" by Dorothy Allison?

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Homosexuality. This story, which is part memoir, is the story of a young lesbian who grew up with a troubled childhood. Throughout the story she is talking to her present day girlfriend, Jessie. While homosexuality is not explicitly talked about much in the book, the narrator’s love for Jessie is made clear. They have been together for nearly a year and represent a committed lesbian couple in literature.

Trauma. The narrator struggles to tell the truth to her girlfriend, Jessie, out of fear of judgement and having to relive her trauma. The narrator was raped by several men in her life at a very young age. There were many deaths in her family and she lost several cousins in one year. The narrator, though an obvious survivor, still is struggling to combat a gruesome past.

Survival. Despite all that the narrator endured as a child, she uses humor and lies as a way of surviving. The narrator makes up stories to share with her girlfriend as a way of rewriting her past and moving on. In...

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