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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All 1 Star 2 Stars 3 Stars 4 Stars 5 Stars Abbi Glines Abdi Nazemian Adam Silvera Aiden Thomas Aisha Saeed AJ Collins Alexandra Christo Alexis Hall Alex Kelly Alex Sanchez Alice Dolman Alice Oseman Alwyn Hamilton Amy Harmon Amy S. Foster André Aciman Andy V Roamer Angie Thomas Annabeth Albert A. Poland Ashley Poston Ashley Woodfolk Audrey Coulthurst Becca Fitzpatrick Becky Albertalli Benjamin Alire Saenz Beth Bolden Bill Konigsberg Briar Prescott Bri Spicer Brooke Skipstone Cale Dietrich Casey McQuiston Cassandra Clare C.G. Drews Chris Bedell Ciara Smyth Clarissa Pattern C.L. Beaumont Colleen Hoover Crystal Frasier C.S. Pacat Daven McQueen David Yoon Dean Atta Debbie McGowan Debbie Rigaud Deborah Harkness Delia Owens D.G. Carothers Dhonielle Clayton Douglas Stuart Dustin Thao Elizabeth Acevedo Elle Kennedy Elle Wright E. Lockhart Emily M. Danforth Emily Mims Erin Watt Ernest Cline Eve Morton Everina Maxwell Evie Dunmore Grace Williams Gwen Martin Hanya Yanagihara Hayden Stone Heather Truett Hettie Bell Holly Black Hope Irving Hudson Lin Ingrid Sterling Jacqueline Lee Jacqueline Woodson Jamie Deacon Jandy Nelson Jeanette Winterson Jeff Zentner Jenna Evans Welch Jennifer E. Smith Jennifer G. Edelson Jennifer Gilmore Jennifer Iacopelli Jennifer Kropf Jennifer Niven Jenny Downham Jenny Han Jeremy Ray John Green Julianne Donaldson Kacen Callender Kami Garcia Kara Leigh Miller Kasie West Kate Larkindale Katharine McGee Kathleen Mareé Kendall Grey Kevin Van Whye Kiley Reid Kim Fielding Kim Holden Kim Liggett Kitty Bardot Kris Ripper K.S. Marsden Laura Hall Laura Silverman Lauren James Laurie Frankel Leah Johnson Lee Matthew Goldberg Leigh Bardugo Leylah Attar Lisa Williamson Liv Rancourt Liz Plum Mackenzi Lee Maggie Doolin Maggie Stiefvater Malin Persson Giolito Malorie Blackman Margaret Stohl Marie Lu Mary E. Pearson Mason Deaver Matthew R. Corr Melina Marchetta Meredith Russo Miel Moreland Mila Gray Miranda Kenneally M. Tasia Nancy Garden Nicholas Sparks Nicola Yoon Nic Stone Nina Kenwood Nita Tyndall Nora Sakavic N.R. Walker Penny Aimes Phil Stamper Quinn Anderson Rachael Lippincott Rachel Hawkins Rainbow Rowell Ray Stoeve River Braun Roan Parrish Roseanne A. Brown Ruta Sepetys Ryan La Sala Sally Green Sarah J. Maas Sarah Waters Sarina Bowen Saundra Mitchell Sidney Bell Simone Elkeles Siryn Sueng Sophia DeRise Sophie Gonzales Stephen Chbosky Stephenie Meyer Susan Mac Nicol Suzanne Collins Tahereh Mafi Teagan Hunter T.J. Klune Tomi Adeyemi Val Wise Veronica Rossi Veronica Roth V.E. Schwab Wesley Chu Victor Dixen Victoria Aveyard Yamile Saied Méndez