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Coming Out: An Act of Love (Plume) Paperback – October 31, 1991

13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Taking responsibility for your life is the first step in moving forward and changing the world inside and around you. Rob Eichberg's Coming Out: An Act of Love, written for both men and women, is a step-by-step guide to understanding and accepting your homosexuality and dealing with others' reaction to it. Using clear, empathetic, and direct language, Eichberg, a trained psychotherapist, explains in detail how coming out radically alters self-perception and your relationships with others. Using examples from his own practice and letters from gay people to their mothers, fathers, siblings, and friends, Eichberg puts a positive, forceful, but gentle face on the process of coming out and the complications that it sometimes raises.

Eichberg discusses coming out as a psychological and political process that affects not only individuals but their families as well. Because this book continually reaffirms gayness as a gift for everyone--straight and gay--it can be read by gay people coming to terms with their sexuality and by their parents, friends, and coworkers. There are also chapters on how AIDS has affected the coming out process and how to deal with AIDS-phobia on a personal and political level. Coming Out: An Act of Love centers on the individual, but understands that one person's actions of self-respect and love can begin to change the world. --Michael Bronski

From Publishers Weekly

Clinical psychologist Eichberg has written a practical, step-by-step self-help guide for lesbians and gay men who wish to come out of the closet. Co-founder of a weekend coming-out workshop and of National Coming-Out Day, Eichberg draws on his professional experience as he guides readers toward self-esteem and suggests ways to cope with fears of being rejected or disowned; with feelings of isolation, guilt, powerlessness; with their own defensive anger and aggressiveness. This exceptionally well-written manual includes sections on coming out to parents, friends, spouses, business associates and employers; on integrating sexuality with one's religious beliefs; and on the sociopolitical dimensions of coming out during the AIDS epidemic. Piercingly honest letters from workshop participants are interwoven with Eichberg's insightful advice. This powerful book will also be helpful to heterosexuals who seek a better understanding of gay relatives and friends.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Plume
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Plume (October 31, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452266858
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452266858
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,218,264 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 26, 1997
Format: Paperback
In being gay, there are certain "shared experiences" most can relate to. The act of "coming out" to family and friends is probably the most apprehensive for most. This "How-to" book relates, through true-life anecdotes, letters, and stories, various methods that have been employed successfully by participants in the author's workshop of the same subject. We found the book to be filled with compassion, understanding, and empathy for those who are coming out, as well as for those to whom the coming out process is directed. If one word were used to describe his understanding and approach to coming out, "keen sensitivity" leaps to mind (ok, that's two words). Dr. Eichberg is aware that the coming out process not only affects the one who comes out, but is also a "coming out" process for those who now are fully included in the life of a gay relative or friend. · He considers coming out an "act of love" to the extent that the homosexual wants to fully include those in his/her life. While some may view "coming out" an act of aggression or rebellion, he convincingly makes the argument that it is actually an appeal for recognition of their basic human dignity and value to society. At many levels, the gay man or woman is seeking not only acceptance, but also approval from the ones they love and respect. He recognizes that one of the most significant mental hurdles to be overcome by those considering coming out is the possibility of rejection While he recognizes this as a distinct possibility (and offers some examples of this negative outcome ... no pun intended), he reinforces the positive aspects of coming out for all involved.Read more ›
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 28, 1999
Format: Paperback
Rob Eichberg's straightforward, simple, writing style paired with his knowledge in this field makes for a book that is a must for every gay self-help library. This book helped me immensely in my own coming out process, and I have recommended it to friends who have benefited from it as well.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 6, 1999
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A gay friend recommended that I read this book because of The Experience workshop. The book integrates exercises from the workshop with many actual letters from people who are coming out. Not only did this book help me understand my friend better, but it has helped me to better understand unconditional love and empowerment. As I told my friend, I love this book so much that I think he should recommend it to ALL his straight friends.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ryan Tanner on October 1, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book was not very helpful to me at all. I am a rather introspective and shy person, and this book gave advice such as "Now you should go meet some other homosexual people and becomes friends," which was extremely hard for me to follow. My advice to anyone coming out would be to start with the person who is closest to you and branch out. The first person I talked to about my homosexuality was my best friend. After I was able to talk to her about it comfortably, I decided to tell some of my other friends, and then after a few more months, I told my father, with whom I live. I learned that I was nevrous for nothing. He still loves me, and nothing has changed in our relationship. I feel as if a burden has been lifted, but I wouldn't account any of it to my book. If you are more of an outgoing person, I would recommend this book. For everyone else, start small and remember, if they don't like you because of your sexual prefence, are they really worth knowing?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Gael Sweeney on July 19, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a place for the NOVEL "Coming Out" by playwright Wallace Hamilton. It's NOT the same as the book "Coming Out: An Act of Love" which seems to be some sort of self-help book. The novel is a bit dated, but still an interesting picture of gay life in the 1970's. The main relationship is believable and touching.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Garrett A. Phelps on October 8, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
While there is a workshop that goes with this book. I think it is a good self help book and I agree with the author that everyone needs to comeout, be honest about who they are. This is the only way one is going to live a satisfying life. However, I don't agree that HIV/AIDS is about hiding and feeling shame.
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By Mark Stout on July 16, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The forces that are preaching "Gays are evil!" are in retreat; some of the most conservative commentators are openly asking why this tired mantra hasn't been dropped.
AIDS has forced such a large number of people out, and thus encouraged many healthy gays to come out, that the public perception has changed greatly since the 1990 publishing date.
During the past week the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court has affirmed that the military must drop "Don't Ask Don't Tell", and generals and admirals are now speaking publicly about the need for the services to come into the 21st century.
Eighteen- and nineteen-year-old recruits were born after the AIDS epidemic was well under way; being gay hasn't really been controversial in their lifetimes; "Don't Ask Don't Tell" has been controversial throughout their lifetimes.

Maybe the above sounds like a first year journalism student, but my point is that this book was written, very well, for the year in which it was written, but the game has changed so much that I feel more like I'm reading a historical document than something current.

I guess as of today, I'm out to Amazon (couldn't find the chapter for that). The biggest issues people coming out today have to deal with are homophobia that uses religion as an alibi and misconceptions about AIDS; the book touches these but could devote more time to them.

I'd also like to see some chapters like, "How to Come Out if you're Catholic", and the same for Moslem and Jewish.

I'm interested in knowing if Dr. Eichberg is still with us and active; an update to this book would be nice.
Coming Out: An Act of Love
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