Chapter 1

A SURPRISING SUBTEXT



Mabel Maney became entranced by nurse heroine Cherry Ames as she lay rereading the series of books in her sickbed. "She's so nice, she's annoying!" Mabel declared. Yet, there was, she thought, something so warm and kind and appealing about Cherry, a character created in the early 1940s to encourage young women to become nurses and go to work during World War II.

Mabel soon noticed that all the women in the books were extremely friendly to each other, and she marveled at the "homoerotic subtext."

"I read between the lines," says Mabel with a knowing wink.