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Customer Review

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not Just For Parents..., November 12, 2012
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This review is from: Oddly Normal: One Family's Struggle to Help Their Teenage Son Come to Terms with His Sexuality (Hardcover)
This is a brave and big-hearted book, one that could well be a life raft for any family coping with the experience detailed here -- lovingly raising a child who, in the eyes of conventional society, is "different."
But it would be a tragedy if "Oddly Normal" did not reach a much larger audience -- the vast population of people who help create the society that presents such obstacles to people like Joe Schwartz and his parents.
Wise people know that abolition frees both the slave and the master. Similarly, tolerance liberates both the bully and his target. And this book is a moving manifesto for tolerance, one that will enrich anyone who reads it -- and everyone should read it.
A universal truth of human society is that there is a constant tension between the security of "fitting in" and the adventure of "standing out." It takes different forms -- fitting into a gang culture or standing out as a scholar; fitting into a loving traditional family role or standing out through some demanding role outside the home; fitting into a supportive office society or standing out by being ambitious. Or, of course, fitting in by conforming to some middle-school notion of "a normal boy" or standing out by being oddly normal, whether that means being gay or a chess prodigy or a precocious reader or a klutz at sports.
This is a book for everyone who has wrestled with that "fitting in/standing out" tension or tried to help others in that struggle. In short, a book for all of us.
You can disregard any canard about "exploitation." The author makes it clear that this book would never have been written if young Joe, its hero, had not wanted his father to write it -- indeed, he helped his father to write it. No one who meets Joe and his parents in the painfully honest pages of "Oddly Normal" could ever suspect otherwise.
Full disclosure: The author of this book is a colleague of mine, although I did not know about the ordeal he and his family were experiencing until I read about it in his book. Indeed, as someone without children, I might not have picked up this book if he had not been a colleague. So I consider that connection a blessing. (Dozens of books have made their way into the world from the ranks of my colleagues without an accompanying Amazon review from me, so you know these comments are from the heart.) This is an extraordinary, important, potentially heart-changing book, and a joy to read.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 25, 2013 6:34:56 AM PDT
mary says:
This isn't really a comment about your review or the book. Do you happen to know any books about discussing homosexuality with children? We think my nephew might be gay and we want to incorporate it into the "talk." We want him to know that although not all boys like boys, some do and it's okay to like other boys. Also, since none of us are gay we can't really give him proper advice on how to deal with issues like dating. I have not seen a helpful book, and we want to make sure the conversation does not traumatize him. Thanks for any help.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 18, 2014 10:14:56 PM PST
Probably a bit late, but was browsing and noticed your comment. While I'm not personally gay, I have had to explain this tackle this with other friends as well when this came up. I really don't want to say the word problem, since it shouldn't be considered one. So shot in the dark that you haven't yet bought this up with your nephew already.

My suggestion: Tackle the issue from the point of view if you were dealing with a tomboy girl who still liked guys in terms of advice. Tomboy girls still do things that guy's normally like to do. Though you are already a step ahead since you want to make sure that he knows that not everyone is attracted to other boys which is one of the con's with doing it that way. You definitely have to make it clear that it's ok for him to feel attracted to whoever he really likes but they also have to be attracted to him likewise. Unfortunately, there is no real rules to dating in real life regardless of who you are attracted to you, though it sounds like you won't traumatize him. =)
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