Oddly Normal: One Family's Struggle to Help Their Teenage Son Come to Terms with His Sexuality
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.
What people are saying - Write a review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - SigmundFraud - LibraryThing
Interesting story of empathic parents helping a not-well-adjusted child come to terms with his homosexuality. Too much detail about things that didn't add to the story. While the parents were terribly ... Read full review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - anderlawlor - LibraryThing
Mixed feelings about this one. I wanted less of the father and more of the queer kid's experience, especially since the father, though very well-meaning, lapsed into straight/entitled cluelessness too ... Read full review