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Catalog Archive / Spring 2022

Dot & Ralfie

“Amy Hoffman creates unforgettable characters, and her scintillating wit keeps things lively even in the face of the decline that awaits us all.”
—Alison Bechdel, author of The Secret to Superhuman Strength

Dorothy “Dot” Greenbaum and Rafaela “Ralfie” Santopietro have been together for years, but as they age, their stable lives begin to show cracks. Ralfie can‘t navigate the stairs in their home after a debilitating knee replacement and Dot‘s heart condition throws into question the viability of their careers, their housing, and their relationship. In their late sixties with no kids to lean on, the two women must come to terms with unforeseen questions of identity, love, and family.

Dot is caring but hides hurtful secrets. Ralfie‘s gruffness masks the physical and emotional pain she endures. Friends and relatives don’t necessarily offer appealing role models for their third act. Dot’s sister Susan is pushing them toward a stuffy “55 or better” community out in the ‘burbs, populated by aging straights who mistake the butch Ralfie for a frumpy old man. Eighty-year-old Viola—Dot‘s friend and sometime lover—lives alone and refuses help, even as she experiences a devastating fall. Rife with Hoffman‘s characteristic wit, Dot & Ralfie takes a hard, sometimes painful look at elder care in the LGBTQ+ community, and the unique struggles that come with getting older outside of heteronormative structures.


Photo of Amy Hoffman, photography by Sharona Jacobs. Amy Hoffman is the author of the novel The Off Season and the memoirs Lies about My Family, An Army of Ex-Lovers, and Hospital Time. Formerly the editor in chief of Women’s Review of Books, she currently teaches writing at Emerson College and in the Solstice Low-Residency MFA Program. Her writing has appeared in the Boston Review, the Gay & Lesbian Review, and other publications.

Amy Hoffman’s website:




“Amy Hoffman has a unique talent for winning over her readers with distinctive characters, precise, effortless prose, and deadpan humor that can break your heart on one page and have you LOL-ing on the next. Dot & Ralfie is a shrewd examination of the many indignities of aging, economic inequality, and the broken healthcare system, all masked as an irresistible domestic comedy.”
—Stephen McCauley, author of My Ex-Life

“We know Dot and Ralfie from back in the day in Boston! Was it at the bar? Dyke softball? Who can remember? Anyway, it’s great to catch up with them – bum knees, chair stairs, crazy jobs, money worries, aging in place. In place of what? We loved spending time with them.”
—Kate Clinton, humorist, and Urvashi Vaid, activist

“It’s funny in all the right parts, good-naturedly grumpy where it needs to be, and wonderfully, wryly sarcastic, but author Amy Hoffman also nudges her readers to think about their own futures and what each might entail. Who will care for us when we only have similarly-aged friends to rely on? To soften the soberness of that question, Hoffman gives readers a handful of very charming characters that fuss at one another, argue, make up, scheme, and fuss some more. . . . There aren’t a lot of novels specific to lesbian seniors who want something reflective of their lives so seek out Dot & Ralfie. If you’re tired of the usual literature, it’s the perfect alternative.”
—Terri Schlichenmeyer, Out in Jersey

“Endearing and humorously crisp. . . . Character-driven and effortlessly enjoyable, Hoffman sheds sweet light on the often-dismissed population of LGBT seniors with this very realistic and beautifully written story of lesbian elders living and loving in contemporary Boston.”
The Bay Area Reporter

“A beautiful look at elder care in the LGBTQ+ community, and how difficult it can be to grow older outside of a heteronormative relationship structure.”
Book Riot



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Of Related Interest

The Off Season: red and blue illustrated cover art of swirling water around a far off lighthouse, with a conglomeration of houses in the forefront of the image.

The Off Season
Amy Hoffman

Sex with Strangers: A blue tinted photography of interlacing feet. The title text is a subdued white, contrasting with the darker shades of the image. Photograph by Nico Segall. Design by Jeremy John Parker.

Sex with Strangers
Michael Lowenthal

Dot & Ralfie: cover depicting a line illustration of two women embracing each other, one with her hair up in a bun, wearing a floral shirt, the other with short, spiky hair and loose-fitting clothes. The ambersand in the title text is bright red and wraps itself around the women. The background is magenta and the rest of the title text is a contrasting white.

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April 2022
LC: 2021038690 PS
160 pp. 5.5 x 8.5

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Paper $16.95
ISBN 9780299333645
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