Oddly Normal: One Family's Struggle to Help Their Teenage Son Come to Terms With His Sexuality

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Gotham Books, 2012 - Biography & Autobiography - 290 pages
7 Reviews

A heartfelt memoir by the father of a gay teen, and an eye-opening story for families who hope to bring up well-adjusted gay adults.

Three years ago, John Schwartz, a national correspondent at The New York Times, got the call that every parent hopes never to receive: his thirteen-year-old son, Joe, was in the hospital following a failed suicide attempt. After mustering the courage to come out to his classmates, Joe’s disclosure — delivered in a tirade about homophobic attitudes—was greeted with dismay and confusion by his fellow students. Hours later, he took an overdose of pills.
 
Additionally, John and his wife, Jeanne, found that their son’s school was unable to address Joe’s special needs. Angry and frustrated, they initiated their own search for services and groups that could help Joe understand that he wasn’t alone. Oddly Normal is Schwartz’s very personal attempt to address his family’s own struggles within a culture that is changing fast, but not fast enough to help gay kids like Joe.

Schwartz follows Joseph through childhood to the present day, interweaving his narrative with common questions, including: Are effeminate boys and tomboy girls necessarily gay? Is there a relationship between being gay and suicide or mental illness? Should a child be pushed into coming out? Parents, teachers, and counselors alike will welcome Oddly Normal and its crucial lessons about helping gay kids –and any kid who is different -- learn how to cope in a potentially hostile world.

 

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Review: Oddly Normal: One Family's Struggle to Help Their Teenage Son Come to Terms with His Sexuality

User Review  - Kathrina - Goodreads

If you are looking into this book as a parent of a gay teenager, please keep in mind that this is a detailed account of a unique child with unique circumstances. Not every emotionally disturbed teen ... Read full review

Review: Oddly Normal: One Family's Struggle to Help Their Teenage Son Come to Terms with His Sexuality

User Review  - Rob Hawks - Goodreads

Actually a really good book. Great story; I like the theme of "you can make it better now." Contemplating sending this to my mom, but I did not have the same learning issues as Joseph. Read full review

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About the author (2012)

John Schwartz is a national correspondent with the New York Times, where he covers law, science, technology, business and a broad range of other topics. Prior to that, he worked at the Washington Post and Newsweek and his writing has also appeared in The Wall Street Journal, GQ, Texas Monthly and other publications.  He is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and University of Texas Law School. He currently lives in New Jersey with his college sweetheart, Jeanne Mixon. They have three children and two difficult cats.

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