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Prayers for Bobby: A Mother's Coming to Terms with the Suicide of Her Gay Son Paperback – August 9, 1996


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne (August 9, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062511238
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062511232
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #133,950 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Mary Griffith prayed that her gay son Bobby would be "healed." After his suicide, her anguish led her on a journey from faithful churchgoer to national crusader for gay and lesbian youth.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Very painful and personal, this is the story of a mother's struggle to reconcile the tension between her deeply held religious beliefs and the suicide of her gay son. Mary Griffith came from a religious family and raised her four children to believe in God and live a Christian life. Their conservative Presbyterian church was the center of family life for every family member except Mary's husband, Bob. When 17-year-old Bobby confided to older bother Ed that he was gay, the family's life changed. Mary convinced Bobby to pray that God would cure him and to seek solace in church activities. Bobby did it all, but the church's hatred of homosexuality and the obvious pain his gayness was causing his family led him increasingly to loathe himself. Excerpts from a diary he kept, family photos, and letters written by Mary to her dead son make the book intense reading for both high-school and public library patrons. Charles Harmon

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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Anyway, please read this book!
Vincent
It's a very sad world we live in when people are taunted, teased, tortured and even killed for loving someone.
Kathleen A. Nilan
Leroy Aarons's book, "Prayers for Bobby" is an emotional story told in an extremely powerful way.
Robert D. Shull

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Mazza HALL OF FAME on April 7, 2003
Format: Paperback
"Prayers for Bobby: A Mother's Coming to Terms with the Suicide of Her Gay Son," by Leroy Aarons, tells a powerful true story. Mary Griffith was a woman who believed in a strict, oppressive version of Christianity and pressured her gay son to try to "change." But after his suicide she reexamined her theology and beliefs about homosexuality and was herself radically transformed.
The book begins with Bobby's suicide and then moves back and forth in time to tell 2 parallel stories: that of Bobby's life and that of Mary's life after his death. This is a profoundly moving story, skillfully told by Aarons. Despite the tragic subject matter, I found the book ultimately very hopeful and uplifting. It's a real story of spiritual liberation and rebirth.
This is also an important book in that it exposes the deadly danger of anti-gay prejudice. The book includes a useful appendix of organizations that deal with gay/lesbian youth and gay/lesbian issues more generally.
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39 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Porfie Medina on July 30, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book PRAYERS FOR BOBBY is about a a young adult named Bobby Griffith who was an all american guy, but who also happened to be gay, and his mother who has to come to terms with the suicide of her gay son. In this book you see how Bobby faced with the pressure of his family and his religion telling him it is wrong to be gay. You will also read many bone chilling excerpts of Bobbys most personal thoughts straight out of his journal, which shows how much Bobby had been going through from the fight with his religious beliefs to selling himself on the streets as a SUBSTITUTE FOR LOVE. There seems like no other answer and soon the pressure is to much to take and Bobby decides to take his own life. Bobbys mom Mary Griffith who was fearful of her sons sexuality and who was a churchgoer used to pray her son would be healed from this sickness, but once her son dies she decided to transform her life by being a national crusador for gay and lesbian youth. This book realy touched my heart and soul because when I was 10 I lost my uncle who was 20 to suicide. We were very close my uncle was NOT gay, but suicide became something I had no choice but to learn at an early age. This book was a life changing book for me as it made me confront many of my own issues I had to face growing up as a teen and now in to my early twenties. PRAYERS FOR BOBBY is one of those books that inspire you to be better and to not judge others by there sexual preferences, as it is such a small part of ones self. I say if you have not read this book you really need to. This book is sad, but yet one of the most inspirational true stories I have ever read, but this is about real life and real life does not always have the storybook happy ending!
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Shane C. Desmond on January 7, 2000
Format: Paperback
Simply put, this book changed my life. I only wish everyone could read it and understand what it is sometimes like to be a young gay man living (and sometimes dying) in America today. Heart-breaking, but amazingly empowering, this is a tale that needs to be told.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By dta104@aol.com on March 31, 1998
Format: Paperback
The subject of teen suicide is a difficult one and one never easy to deal with. The suicide of a gay teen is even more of a problem because it is difficult to study without enough documented research. Inserting religious beliefs into the equation, along with family values, make for a very interesting story. The suicide of any teen or anyone is tragic. The initial teachings/actions of Mary Griffith make for difficult reading for a gay Christian; however, her ultimate acceptance of her son (and herself) in a way make this book somewhat validating. After the tradgedy, she does begin to review her thinking, but the point is, she is referencing it with the same scripture that she had been reading all along. After her son's death, there was a time where she seemed to act in a way that was against her families wishes and yet she was doing it just for that reason (part of her family.) "Prayers for Bobby" blends many common problems/themes together of being gay or having a gay son in a "straight" world, and yet, it is candidly honest and intelligent. My main praise for the book is this: It blends many difficult themes and reveals enough of each to educate the reader. It is important not to forget the difficulty of the subject matter when reading this book. It doesn't give answers or attempt to sway the reader into believing one thing or another, it only speaks.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Michael S. Waren on November 14, 2002
Format: Paperback
Author Leroy Aarons chroniles Betty Griffith's journey after the suicide death of her gay son, Bobby. While some readers may claim that this book is "too sad and depressing" I actually found it filled with hope, as I saw Mary's 180 degree turn and transformation from Prebysterian religious fundalmentalist to a woman who questions the church's position on homosexuality. Simply put it is not God who finds fault with homosexuality. It is more those that interpret the Bible and their interpretations on it. This is one book that I wish more people would read, because I think their is something here for everyone, given the current political nature of this country. Readers of this book may never know all the reason why Bobby Griffith took his life, but we can hope that out of his death many lives can be saved.
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