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Denial: My 25 Years Without a Soul (Kindle Single) by [Rauch, Jonathan]
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Denial: My 25 Years Without a Soul (Kindle Single) Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 77 customer reviews

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Length: 70 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Details

  • File Size: 408 KB
  • Print Length: 70 pages
  • Publisher: The Atlantic Books (April 30, 2013)
  • Publication Date: April 30, 2013
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00CLJAMII
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #212,991 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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Denial is a remarkable personal remembrance of Jonathan Rauch's internal struggles growing up a closeted gay man.
It chronicles his early childhood recognition of a secret difference, an unknowable monster in his psyche that must be hidden from both himself and the world. He describes the elaborate structure of denials, the closet, which he created and maintained until he was 25 to preserve his secret and his sanity.

Rauch documents with startling honesty and insight how the decades he spent denying his nature to himself stunted his relationships with others and distorted his understanding of the world. Spoiler alert: there is a happy ending. He also describes the process of self-discovery that let him open the closet door to become an authentic and loving self.

I think that many straight people view the coming out process differently from what it usually is. They may imagine an adolescent suddenly discovering (or choosing) to be gay, and that coming out is simply deciding when to let everyone else in on the secret. A lot of blog comments on Jason Collins recent revelations seem to support this distorted view.

Gay people are not born in closets. They painstakingly build them themselves, board by board and layer by layer as a defense against a world that would mock and humiliate them. Discovering that you are "different" and "not normal" is a frightening paralyzing thing for a kid. Many, like Rauch, become convinced that they are not only different; but are unique and alone in their struggle with a hidden monster. LGBT suicide rates underline the seriousness of this struggle.

Jonathan Rauch is 1st a great reporter and 2nd a remarkably honest and self aware man.
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As a straight man reading Jonathan Rauch's remarkable book I have to admit that at times I was very uncomfortable. But I'm so glad I read it. I've never encountered this degree of intelligent, self aware, and brutally honest personal narrative which at the same time is amazingly enlightening. The perspective it provides on one man's harrowing journey to knowing himself is a unique and valuable contribution. I can't imagine anyone who reads this book ever imagining that there is any "choice" in the matter. Overall an interesting and very engaging read. I highly recommend it.
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After reading an excerpt I was 'hooked' so I downloaded this e-novella. Beautifully and intelligently written, with breathtaking clarity surrounding the experience of the struggle many of us have experienced coming to terms with our sexuality. I was particularly touched by the emphasis on sexuality as an experience of love and its relationship to one's soul/spirituality. This construct, I believe is often unappreciated or under-appreciated by individuals who perceive homosexuality to be just something relating to a sex act. Bravo!
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"[T]his is not a memoir exactly; it is an account of a syndrome whose nature was a war with and for a self" (loc. 634).

"Denial: My 25 Years Without a Soul" is a story of writer Jonathan Rausch's childhood, adolescent, and young adult years and what it was like to be gay without realizing one was gay. Rausch just believed that he was either asexual (or a heterosexual whose sexual feelings were just around the corner), and - smart as Rausch was - his brain ratioanlized his obsession with men's muscles as a strange case of envy. But meanwhile, where everyone else could feel romantic love, Rausch simply believed that that he was incapable of those feelings.

The book starts during Rausch's early teens, when he realizes - just like that - that he'll probably never get married. He just doesn't have feelings toward girls. We follow Rausch through his burgeoning obsession with the male (athletic) figure and, in particular, a bodybuilding friend named Paul. It literally doesn't dawn on Rausch that he is gay, because (he says) he doesn't have sexual thoughts about boys. He rationalizes his admiration for their bodies as a sort of envy of a scrawny awkward boy of his "betters." In college, the same, and when periodic friends suggested he may be gay, he very honestly denied it (again, because homosexuality was about wanting sex with men, different from what he felt). It was only in his twenties (for reasons I'll leave you to discover) that he realized he may be - and then was - gay.

I must reiterate - per Rausch's above quote - that this is not a memoir or even a story per se; Rausch is writing a psychological account of who he - this unsuspecting gay man, obsessed with his muscular friend Paul and convinced he was just abnormal and broken - was from childhood through adulthood.
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I wish I'd had the guts to write this book. For some of us, it retells the complexity of growing up gay and in denial better than we ever could. How well I remember those Charles Atlas ads in the back of Popular Science!

For straight folks, it provides an authentic view of how it can be for gay friends and family members; it should be required reading in every PFLAG chapter. There are difficult moments in the book: Not because of x-rated material, but because one is in the presence of someone sharing personal moments that most would keep hidden. As other reviewers have said, there are times when it's almost painful to read: It's that unsparingly direct.

It would have been easier to present those 25 years "without a soul" as unmitigated misery. But Rauch is too honest for that. He presents us with the seeming paradox of good times, of achievement and acceptance -- accompanied for so long by that great emptiness inside. His prose style is undramatic, humorous, personal. He draws us in simply by his willingness to disclose his humanity. There is no artifice here.

When, at the end, he recounts the moments when he was able to end the denial and affirm his sexual nature and claim his birthright, I wanted to cheer: For him, for me, for all the men who have gone down this path and found release from those very demons.

It also brought tears to my eyes and an ache in my gut: For all those men who never made it, and for those still on the road. Hang in there, brothers!

It's a short read, but you won't forget it easily. I recommend it without reservation.
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