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It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, and Creating a Life Worth Living Hardcover – March 22, 2011

4.7 out of 5 stars 54 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Handpicked and heartfelt essays from contributors famous and obscure, gay and straight." — Chicago Sun-Times

"A masterstroke . . . revolutionary." — Armistead Maupin, author of Tales of the City

About the Author

Dan Savage is the editorial director of Seattle's weekly newspaper, The Stranger. Terry Miller is an event promoter, musician, and DJ. They were married in Canada and live in Seattle with their son, DJ.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton; First Edition edition (March 22, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525952330
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525952336
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.8 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #624,161 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
On September 22, 2010, in response to publicized incidents of bullying and suicides, author Dan Savage and his husband, Terry Miller, uploaded a video to YouTube on "It Get's Better," a plea to teens and youth to stay alive. They hoped to get 100 other videos in this collection.

Within 24 hours, someone uploaded a second video. In 3 days, there were several hundred videos. At the end of the week, there were 1,000. In week 4, the White House called with a request to add a video from President Obama. There are now more than 10,000 videos in the It Get's Better collection.

About 1% of these were selected and transcribed and combined with expanded and original essays to present these messages in written form. The themes of the essays are why gay, bi, questioning, outsider, bullied, or any other youth should not kill themselves or be self destructive, since their lives will and do get better. The book includes resources and suggestions, and should be read by teachers, librarians, youth workers, parents, and of course, youth.

The book features contributions by President Obama, David Sedaris, Kate Clinton, Murray Hill, Bishop Gene Robinson, Ellen Degeneres, Tim Gunn, UK PM David Cameron, Suze Orman, Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Chaz Bono, Bruce Ortiz, PereZ Hilton, Alex Orue and many more.

There is something for nearly everyone: Jennifer Finney Boylan, a transgender woman who teaches at Colby, writes about a post-college incident where she drove to the literal edge of North America to end her life from a cliff (but didn't); Gregory MaGuire, the author of "Wicked" writes an essay; while Kevin Yee, an actor in the musical, "Wicked," also writes one. It is one of the funniest essays in the book.
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Format: Hardcover
The secret weapon in this collection of essays is this: gorgeous moments of aching truth that pierce the sometimes distracting hype associated with the "It Gets Better" project and deliver an emotional wallop.

It's an earnest, uneven, truly inspirational collection, with enough of those heart-in-your-throat moments to keep you reading.

Interestingly, the most famous names in the book have the least impact. Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Al Franken, Suze Orman and even Ellen Degeneres are all here, but their pieces feel about as passionate as thumbing through their cue cards. Maybe fame leads to caution.

You'll have to settle for celebrity twice-removed to tap a wellspring of real emotion. Randy Roberts Potts is the grandson of the late, ultra-homophobic televangelist Oral Roberts, and Randy shares a family secret more salacious than his own homosexuality: his uncle, Ronald David Roberts, was also gay, and he was so despondent after coming out to his famous father that he killed himself with a gunshot to his heart.

Randy's own story is filled with religious and social trials, but there is victory. "I had to fight hard for it, but it finally happened," he writes, "the freedom to just be myself." And then he can't resist this: "My grandfather was famous for telling people, `Something good is going to happen to you!' And, it's strange to admit it, but he was right."

I still have the voice of lesbian Gabrielle Rivera ringing in my ears. Gabrielle appears on page 45 and not a moment too soon, bursting with truth and anger and passion. "It kind of doesn't get better," she proclaims. "...but what happens is this: You get stronger. You learn how to love yourself. You learn that other people are just crazy and caught up in their own crap.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The world can be a very confusing place when you are a sexual minority. Feelings of isolation is perhaps more likely to occur in LGBT-indivuals. Therefore LGBT stories cannot be shared often enough. A lot of people criticised the stories in the book for being too much the same. Though I think it's for that exact reason the book is so good. Exactly because this (book) will make you feel that you are not alone in the experiences you've had.
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Format: Audio CD
This is a review of the audiobook, and primarily a warning that the reading of this work is slow in speed and pedantic in tone, in my opinion. This is especially noticeable for the portions read by Paul Michael Garcia and these tended to be less interesting, I think, than if I had simply read the book. Certainly, the original essays were passionate, but many readings here are lacking even a spark of emotion.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
At first I was surprised to discover the book is actually an Anthology. The experiences related by real people from all walks of life, many well known names, were sad but mostly inspiring. There were supporting pieces from important public figures who are straight. I would recommend this book as it is revealing for the suffering endured by those who are different.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I enjoyed the stories in this book, it certainly does add a feeling of "It gets better" for LGBTQ youths. It's a great read for anyone, to read about people of all orientation, and statuses, the encouragement and feedback is great.

I quickly donated the book to my local high school, for others to use.

I gave it a 3 star because, I ended up getting really bored throughout (ended up skimming) as the stories started to become the same theme.
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