- 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
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #212,991 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Denial: My 25 Years Without a Soul (Kindle Single) Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
"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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Jonathan Rauch's intimate and penetrating reflection on the torture of his early emotional machinations to (mis)understand himself and his erotic nature is far more than a... Read morePublished 6 days ago by CM
I used to see Jonathan working out at two gyms I went to in DC in the 1980s. I thought he was so cute. Read morePublished 19 days ago by Jay
While Jonathon discovered his soul and wrote about it in his book, I found myself expanding in my understanding as I read his story. Read morePublished 13 months ago by forever student
Mr Rauch's memoir is not your average, almost clichè now, homosexual coming-out-of-the-closet story. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Kindle Customer
This book is extraordinary. It is well written and reflects exactly what so many people can benefit from.Published 17 months ago by Renee de Winnaar
Superbly written memoir about author's years of denial and suppression of his homosexuality.Published 21 months ago by James Armstrong
A great read and kudos to Rauch for being so open about one of life's most intimate issues. It could have been issue to re-live as he wrote this book.Published 22 months ago by RON
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