One Family's Struggle to Help Their Teenage Son Come to Terms with His Sexuality
By John Schwartz
(Gotham, Paperback, 9781592408405, 304pp.)
Publication Date: September 3, 2013
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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.
Four 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, had tried to commit suicide. Hours before, he had come out to his classmates and was met by dismay and confusion. After school he took an overdose of pills.
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 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 kidsand any kid who is differentlearn how to cope in a potentially hostile world.
John Schwartz is a national correspondent with The New York Times. He currently lives in New Jersey with his college sweetheart, Jeanne Mixon. They have three children and two difficult cats.