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

Overview -

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.  Read more...


 
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More About Oddly Normal by John Schwartz
 
 
 
Overview

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.


 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781592407286
  • ISBN-10: 1592407285
  • Publisher: Penguin Group USA
  • Publish Date: November 2012
  • Page Count: 290


Related Categories

Books > Biography & Autobiography > Personal Memoirs
Books > Social Science > Gay Studies

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2012-10-01
  • Reviewer: Staff

In this moving account of a family’s journey to raise and protect their gay son, New York Times correspondent Schwartz begins with his son Joe’s suicide attempt, discovering afterwards that his son had come out to his classmates that afternoon. Joe’s parents had always suspected the youngest of their three children might be gay, playing with dolls and wearing pink lightup shoes, but he had only coyly revealed his sexuality to his parents a week before his suicide attempt. With an unusual condition therapists variously diagnosed over the years as Asperger’s, bi-polar, ADHD, among others, school was always a challenge for Joe. With the growing awareness of his sexuality, however, came increasing sensitivity to fellow students’ homophobic slurs and taunts, as well as a growing realization that he was “different” and even that there was something possibly wrong with him. Schwartz recounts in sometimes painful detail his and his wife’s difficulties in getting Joe the help he so desperately needed, from working with school officials on appropriate ways of dealing with Joe when his condition overwhelmed him, to joining the Youth Enrichment Services at the Gay Center. With the new support, Joe thrived. Equally humorous and heartrending, this memoir reveals just what it takes to raise children who are different in a world still resistant. Agent: Rafe Sagalyn. (Nov.)

 
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