Thursday, January 10, 2013

Oddly Normal by John Schwartz

Three years ago, John Schwartz, 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. Afterwards, John and his wife, 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.
Schwartz follows Joe 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,or any kid who is different, learn how to cope in a potentially hostile world.

If you like this, try these:
Far From the Tree by Andrew Solomon
My Lives by Edmund White
Victory by Laura Hirshman

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