7/8/2021 1 Comment
Affliction by Laura Hall
Thank you so much to the publicist Sabrina Dax and the author Laura Hall for sending me an ARC, it was a true honor reading this tender, touching and powerful memoir about life growing up with a closeted gay dad!
At the age of 24, with a teen pregnancy and two failed marriages behind her, and trying to dig a little deeper into her background and reasons for her lack of trust in men, Laura finds out that her father Ralph is gay and has been closeted for all his life.
“I knew I was different,” he said. “I was also aware of the fact I should conceal it, that it was an affliction.”
This memoir is both a way of Laura trying to understand her father and the decisions he’s made - or been forced to make - as well as for Laura to understand her own relationship problems and what she might have subconsciously known all along. It’s also such an important background story to the LGBTQ+ rights struggle and a history lesson in its own right as Laura Hall seamlessly weaves in details about the mistreatment and police actions against gay men (setups really) that her father suffered from and the constraints he had to live within, as well as the birth of the gay right movement, the AIDS crisis and ACT UP activism, and at the ending her granddaughter’s open-minded approach that shows Laura right before her eyes how the world has changed.
The writing was very straightforward, compelling and easy to read, and I was immediately pulled into this story, reading it all in one sitting. It was such an honest and frank reflection about Laura’s upbringing, her father’s struggle and suffering but also his perhaps not always honorable actions as well as the impossible situation for Laura’s mother to chose to stay married and bring up a family with a man she knew didn’t love her the way she loved him. I was really impressed by the way Laura Hall didn’t shy away from the parts that were not very flattering to herself or her family, but how she nevertheless throughout the book always managed to keep the story telling so tender, loving and respectful.
All in all, this is a must read that I recommend with all my heart! Such a beautiful, warm, brave, moving and important family tale connecting the coming of age of both Laura and her father, with a wonderful mix of sadness and joy, resilience and love.
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7/9/2021 03:22:18 am
Thank you for this sensitive and beautiful review.
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