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Pray the Gay Away Paperback – November 27, 2017
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I say “surprisingly” because it’s written by the Zakar Twins - models and social media sensations known for being sexy and naked and crazy a lot, e.g. auctioning sex toys molded from their own genitalia - so I bought the book not expecting more than some jokes and base titillation. (Because yes, I actually like how sexy and naked and crazy they are lol.) But as I started reading it? I quickly realized these guys have way more to say than can be clickbaited in Instagram posts and YouTube videos. PRAY THE GAY AWAY is in fact a tender, laugh-packed, and heartbreaking coming-of-age novel.
It’s also a horror movie - with their mom as the monster. (Tho if this ever got made into a movie, whoever plays their mom would be a shoe-in for an Academy Award.)
It’s also a pretty intriguing twin study; a nature vs. nurture exploration on how identical twins can be so similar - and so not!
But mostly, it’s an outsider story. About being born different, then finding out you’re even more different than you thought.
Because yeah, the authors’ background is unusual… unless you happen to be gay Iraqi-American twins raised in white Michigan by a religious fanatic. But the brothers somehow make it relatable af. Whether you’re younger or older, queer or straight, Mideasterny or Waspy, or somewhere between all of that… you feel strangely familiar with this weird world of theirs. Michael and Zach Zakar really pull off something special here. This may be their first book, but it’s clear these guys are born storytellers. And they’ve got lots of story to tell.
The brothers have traced their journeys of coming out—and trying to belong—in these less-than-friendly environments. Many will relate to Michael and Zach's accounts of navigating these tricky intersections, which given the circumstances, are recounted with raw honesty, good humor, and refreshingly little resentment. So rather than containing bitter and gloomy diatribes, the result is a sometimes heartbreaking, often hilarious, and always fun-to-read page turner of a book.
I highly recommend Pray the Gay Away, and I look forward to seeing what comes next from Michael and Zach!
One of my all-time favorite books is Disco Blood Bath/ Party Monster by James St. James, not only in content, but mostly in the unique way that it is told. In the same respect, Pray the Gay Away is told in the precise manner that the Zakar twins want you to experience it in; so casual and conversational, at times it almost feels like stories you would text your bestie at the end of an "interesting" day.
You do not need to be gay or a boy or even a twin for that matter to enjoy this read and simultaneously, it isn't a watered version targeted for the masses. It is a tongue and cheek coming of age story that is told with such honesty and heart, that is hard not to get charmed into this one, only pages in. Not only is a feel good story, I absolutely would not discount the importance of the message of hope and happiness in our most awkward, vulnerable years in one's life. So glad the Zakar Twins invited us into their world for this one....can't wait to RSVP for the next!