Abnormally Happy: A Gay Dictionary


66 pages
Contains Illustrations
ISBN 0-919573-41-X





Reviewed by Joan McGrath

Joan McGrath is a Toronto Board of Education library consultant.


With an avowed debt to Ambrose Bierce’s Devil’s Dictionary, this collection of fiendishly amusing definitions takes a look at twentieth century life from a decidedly different perspective and is heavily (but not totally) oriented to gay life (gay being provided with the definition that gives the collection its title, Abnormally Happy). Sly, funny, at times wickedly pointed, as in such definitions as “civil rights — An official recognition that a minority contains a substantial number of voters”; “faith healing — The art of making irreversibly handicapped people feel guilty about their faithlessness.” The back cover illustration of sheep engaged in “unnatural acts” — i.e., singing, dancing, smoking, and drinking — should be a warning to us all. Short and funny, with clever cartoon illustrations.


Summerbell, Richard, “Abnormally Happy: A Gay Dictionary,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 16, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/35750.