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Stories for Boys: A Memoir

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In this memoir of fathers and sons, Gregory Martin struggles to reconcile the father he thought he knew with a man who has just survived a suicide attempt; a man who had been having anonymous affairs with men throughout his thirty-nine years of marriage; and who now must begin his life as a gay man. At a tipping point in our national conversation about gender and sexuality In this memoir of fathers and sons, Gregory Martin struggles to reconcile the father he thought he knew with a man who has just survived a suicide attempt; a man who had been having anonymous affairs with men throughout his thirty-nine years of marriage; and who now must begin his life as a gay man. At a tipping point in our national conversation about gender and sexuality, rights and acceptance, Stories for Boys is about a father and a son finding a way to build a new relationship with one another after years of suppression and denial are given air and light. MartinOCOs memoir is quirky and compelling with its amateur photos and grab-bag social science and literary analyses. Gregory Martin explores the impact his fatherOCOs lifelong secrets have upon his life now as a husband and father of two young boys with humor and bracing candor. Stories for Boys is resonant with conflicting emotions and the complexities of family sympathy, and asks the questions: How well do we know the people that we think we know the best? And how much do we have to know in order to keep loving them?"


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In this memoir of fathers and sons, Gregory Martin struggles to reconcile the father he thought he knew with a man who has just survived a suicide attempt; a man who had been having anonymous affairs with men throughout his thirty-nine years of marriage; and who now must begin his life as a gay man. At a tipping point in our national conversation about gender and sexuality In this memoir of fathers and sons, Gregory Martin struggles to reconcile the father he thought he knew with a man who has just survived a suicide attempt; a man who had been having anonymous affairs with men throughout his thirty-nine years of marriage; and who now must begin his life as a gay man. At a tipping point in our national conversation about gender and sexuality, rights and acceptance, Stories for Boys is about a father and a son finding a way to build a new relationship with one another after years of suppression and denial are given air and light. MartinOCOs memoir is quirky and compelling with its amateur photos and grab-bag social science and literary analyses. Gregory Martin explores the impact his fatherOCOs lifelong secrets have upon his life now as a husband and father of two young boys with humor and bracing candor. Stories for Boys is resonant with conflicting emotions and the complexities of family sympathy, and asks the questions: How well do we know the people that we think we know the best? And how much do we have to know in order to keep loving them?"

30 review for Stories for Boys: A Memoir

  1. 4 out of 5

    Abby

    Yet another disappointing Seattle Reads selection. In 2013, only a few months after gay marriage was legalized in Washington, it feels really retrograde to read the story of a closeted gay man filtered through the voice of his self-righteous, self-pitying straight adult son. The author was clearly hurt by his father's deceptive behavior and the pain it caused his mother and their family, and he certainly has a right to those feelings. But hurt feelings alone do not make a compelling narrative. I Yet another disappointing Seattle Reads selection. In 2013, only a few months after gay marriage was legalized in Washington, it feels really retrograde to read the story of a closeted gay man filtered through the voice of his self-righteous, self-pitying straight adult son. The author was clearly hurt by his father's deceptive behavior and the pain it caused his mother and their family, and he certainly has a right to those feelings. But hurt feelings alone do not make a compelling narrative. Indeed, this book read more like a series of personal journal entries haphazardly strung together than a memoir. The father's story (a gay man who was sexually abused by his father as a child and spent most of his adult life in the closet, slipping out of the house at night to cruise for anonymous sex) was much more interesting than the son's, but we only catch it in glimpses, through the searing lens of the son's harsh judgment of his father. I think that judgmental, hectoring tone was what bothered me the most about this book. Not only is Martin angry at his father for betraying his mother and his happy childhood memories, he is angry at his father for not displaying his queer self (once he is outed) in a way that suits Martin's smug liberal self-satisfaction. Martin is extremely annoyed with his father's evasiveness concerning his sexual partners, his dating activities, and other aspects of his personal life once his father is separated from his mother and is technically "out of the closet." He is constantly pushing his father to acknowledge his sexuality as a crucial (perhaps the crucial) piece of his identity -- but it is not clear from the snippets of his father's emails and dialogue that are included in this book that his father necessarily regards that part of himself as the key to who he is. We will never really know the father's story, however, since as Martin acknowledges in one chapter, this is not his father's memoir. Too bad, because that story, fully told, would have been much more memorable than the one contained in this slight, self-indulgent, and heterosexist book.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Austen to Zafón

    I picked this up at the library thinking it was going to be stories for, you know, boys. I have a boy; he likes stories. Anyway, it turned out not to be that at all, but I checked it out anyway and I'm glad I did. I've read a few reviews here and there are a variety of complaints from the author being too introspective (which is, to me, what separates a memoir from an autobiography) to wanting to know more about the dad (I imagine he prefers his privacy). I didn't agree with these criticisms. In I picked this up at the library thinking it was going to be stories for, you know, boys. I have a boy; he likes stories. Anyway, it turned out not to be that at all, but I checked it out anyway and I'm glad I did. I've read a few reviews here and there are a variety of complaints from the author being too introspective (which is, to me, what separates a memoir from an autobiography) to wanting to know more about the dad (I imagine he prefers his privacy). I didn't agree with these criticisms. In the first few pages, you learn that Martin's (the author's) dad has attempted suicide and then you find out why: He was sexually molested as a child, he was a closeted gay man for the whole of his 39-year marriage, and he sought out hundreds of anonymous sex partners at parks & rest stops. You're thinking this book might be about homosexuality, right? No. I mean yes, but not really. It's about what happens when someone you have loved and trusted for many years turns out to have been lying to you the whole time, turns out to be a different person than you thought you knew. Martin is unflinchingly honest in detailing the phases he goes through in coming to terms not so much with his dad's sexuality as with his dad's long-term dishonesty and with trying to figure out who his dad really is. He's aware that when his dad was young, you didn't admit you'd been molested, you didn't seek help, and you certainly didn't admit if you were a gay man. He sympathizes. He gets why. And he has no qualms about homosexuality. But he also feels betrayed and the results of this feeling can be ugly. "This American Life," the NPR radio show, did a great segment a few years back about psychopathic liars. Martin's dad is far from that, but the effect is the same, making his son (and his wife, I'm sure) go back compulsively through all his memories to look at them through this new lens, to make sense of it all. Martin has young sons himself and he starts scrutinizing his relationships with them and asking himself whether he's always been honest. And through all this, he's also maintaining a relationship with his mom, whom his dad still really loves. It was an engrossing read, with some interesting tangents. I learned more about Walt Whitman than I knew before and I got a book recommendation for my young son. There were interesting quotes from various literary and non-fiction sources. On the whole, I recommend it. More so if you've been betrayed yourself by someone who was dishonest with you in the long-term.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Bethany Rose

    What an incredibly brave book. In discussing issues of identity, sexuality, and gender roles it is often easier to divorce our opinions from lived human experiences. Easier to speak from the pages of whatever political/philosophical anthology we stand behind and ignore the gut-wrenching, confusing and difficult moments when theory becomes practice and the examples involve family members, neighbors, friends, and ourselves. Beautifully written, Stories For Boys reveals Gregory Martin's process of What an incredibly brave book. In discussing issues of identity, sexuality, and gender roles it is often easier to divorce our opinions from lived human experiences. Easier to speak from the pages of whatever political/philosophical anthology we stand behind and ignore the gut-wrenching, confusing and difficult moments when theory becomes practice and the examples involve family members, neighbors, friends, and ourselves. Beautifully written, Stories For Boys reveals Gregory Martin's process of letting go of the notions of what fathers, sons and families are supposed to be. Of what acceptance looks like. Of what love is. Gregory Martin honestly and gut-wrenchingly depicts the process of re-learning himself, how he remembers his childhood, and how he approaches his own family in the wake of his father's attempted suicide and announcement that he is gay. Stories For Boys guides readers through these experiences and the subsequent emotional and ideological battles. The mixed-media format exquisitely reveals and represents how our conceptualizations of self and our roles in society are tenderly pieced together, and may be more fragile, more malleable than we ever thought.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I really, really wanted to love this book. We are doing it for All Seattle Reads, and I was so excited to be doing a memoir, a book about queer issues, and something contemporary. I agree with another reviewer that it started out strong but then become too introspective. In many ways the father’s voice and experience are still “in the closet” so to speak. As a reader I was compelled more by the story of the father and would like to read the next installment of that story.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Maria Paiz

    In his soul-wrenching introspective memoir, Gregory Martin delves deeply into the whirlwind that shook up his family after his father's attempted suicide and ensuing admission of homosexuality. What I admired about Martin's account was his braveness and honesty about his feelings during the whole process, and how he mended --no, began anew-- a relationship with the man who over the course of his life had closeted not only his sexuality but also the trauma of being a survivor of incestual rape. W In his soul-wrenching introspective memoir, Gregory Martin delves deeply into the whirlwind that shook up his family after his father's attempted suicide and ensuing admission of homosexuality. What I admired about Martin's account was his braveness and honesty about his feelings during the whole process, and how he mended --no, began anew-- a relationship with the man who over the course of his life had closeted not only his sexuality but also the trauma of being a survivor of incestual rape. Who is this person, my father? Do any of us really know our parents, their feelings, their heartaches, their experiences? Martin lived with his father his whole life and never suspected the burdens of pain and guilt he carried inside. I appreciated Martin's contrasting thoughts and feelings as a son, and then as a father, when he faced explaining the situation to his own children. He managed to come to grips with his father's newfound identity and even feel "sort-of-happy" for him as he learned of his father's first steps towards moving on with his life as a single, gay man. Overall, I found it interesting to see how Martin so adequately dissected his emotions and managed to heal his own heart after a painful family situation. A beautiful, moving, psychological story.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Really don't get why this book was published. It's a series of journalistic blog posts at best, the writing very pedestrian. Packaged as a memoir, it consists of short chapters of the author coping with his father's recent suicide attempt after coming out to his family. The author works hard to blame his father for a lack of honesty and his many years of deception, but comes off as an insensitive, self-righteous, whiny little jerk. Felt more empathy with the father, who was dealing with a gay-ha Really don't get why this book was published. It's a series of journalistic blog posts at best, the writing very pedestrian. Packaged as a memoir, it consists of short chapters of the author coping with his father's recent suicide attempt after coming out to his family. The author works hard to blame his father for a lack of honesty and his many years of deception, but comes off as an insensitive, self-righteous, whiny little jerk. Felt more empathy with the father, who was dealing with a gay-hating culture who did his best considering he was sexually abused by his own drunken father since he was 4 years old. I say give the dad a break - from all accounts he was a model father/husband who had to hide his sexual proclivity, but was engaged with his children in a healthy, loving way, despite being a victim of child abuse. Wanted to hear more from the dad's point of view, but all we get are some non-descript emails in response to his son's angry communications. Skipping all and any programs around this poor choice for our Seattle Reads program.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Will

    After the chapter dedicated to the author's triumph in building a tree-house (boh-ring!), I'm done. My kindle shows I've read 50% and that's a fair trial. The book started out promising, even inspiring. It could have been an interesting tale of a closeted older man coming out after a suicide attempt. Instead the author, the son, blathers on about his FEELINGS about how it affected him. I get he was trying to be honest, struggling with his true ugly feelings but he came off unlikable. And not the After the chapter dedicated to the author's triumph in building a tree-house (boh-ring!), I'm done. My kindle shows I've read 50% and that's a fair trial. The book started out promising, even inspiring. It could have been an interesting tale of a closeted older man coming out after a suicide attempt. Instead the author, the son, blathers on about his FEELINGS about how it affected him. I get he was trying to be honest, struggling with his true ugly feelings but he came off unlikable. And not the good unlikable like a narrator who is untrustworthy, but interesting. Just charmless. Also at times it got too writer-ly, if you know what I mean. Writey-write-write. We get it. You can write. Bummer.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jim Loter

    I echo what many reviewers have said: I felt the real focal point of this book was with the father, whom we only glimpse in a few letters and through the wounded eyes of his son, the author. As a father myself, I was at times challenged to think about how I would have handled talking to my son about the events that transpire in the book (or similarly difficult topics) but that alone was not compelling enough reason to stay engaged. I do feel that Martin understands and struggles with the fact th I echo what many reviewers have said: I felt the real focal point of this book was with the father, whom we only glimpse in a few letters and through the wounded eyes of his son, the author. As a father myself, I was at times challenged to think about how I would have handled talking to my son about the events that transpire in the book (or similarly difficult topics) but that alone was not compelling enough reason to stay engaged. I do feel that Martin understands and struggles with the fact that he's not handling the situation as effectively as he'd would like, and I respect the vulnerability that he puts on display. Fundamentally, however, it's not a display I cared to participate in.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia Patton

    I loved Greg Martin's first memoir, Mountain City, but I love this one even more. It's a beautiful book about how, despite a long marriage and seemingly happy life, the author's father attempts suicide when his wife (the author's mom) learns that he is gay. Like life, what follows is painful, messy, confusing, funny, and real. It asks the thought-provoking question: what happens when the parent you thought you knew turns out to be hiding the truth? Full of humor, sadness, and ultimately love, th I loved Greg Martin's first memoir, Mountain City, but I love this one even more. It's a beautiful book about how, despite a long marriage and seemingly happy life, the author's father attempts suicide when his wife (the author's mom) learns that he is gay. Like life, what follows is painful, messy, confusing, funny, and real. It asks the thought-provoking question: what happens when the parent you thought you knew turns out to be hiding the truth? Full of humor, sadness, and ultimately love, this is a finely written and deeply satisfying memoir. I couldn't put it down.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Gary Lee

    This book started off strong, but soon devolved into rather trivial introspection and navel-gazing. I would have liked more information about Martin's father, since he was the center of the narrative, but it seemed as if Martin didn't want to ask the questions he needed to or that Martin's father was unwilling to answer them. And this book should have waited until they were both ready to ask/answer these questions. This book started off strong, but soon devolved into rather trivial introspection and navel-gazing. I would have liked more information about Martin's father, since he was the center of the narrative, but it seemed as if Martin didn't want to ask the questions he needed to or that Martin's father was unwilling to answer them. And this book should have waited until they were both ready to ask/answer these questions.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

    Absolutely extraordinary--I gobbled it as much as read it. As the gay son of a later-in-life lesbian mom, I'll admit STORIES FOR BOYS may strike chords for me that are different than for other readers, but I can't imagine somebody not being sucked in by Martin's engaging, heartfelt prose. Won't spoil it by saying much more than that--but it is an incredible read. Lovely, sad, personal and universal...just read it. Absolutely extraordinary--I gobbled it as much as read it. As the gay son of a later-in-life lesbian mom, I'll admit STORIES FOR BOYS may strike chords for me that are different than for other readers, but I can't imagine somebody not being sucked in by Martin's engaging, heartfelt prose. Won't spoil it by saying much more than that--but it is an incredible read. Lovely, sad, personal and universal...just read it.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

    Go read this book now. Yes, it's true, it is the Seattle Reads book for 2013, but all the more reason you should pick it up. It's a great read, movingly told and extremely well written about a man who gets a phone call one day about his father having just attempted suicide and the fallout from that moment as everybody picks up the pieces. It's honest and hard to read at times: sadness, loss, anger, etc., are not great subjects for bright summer days, but put it on your to-read list and do it. Go read this book now. Yes, it's true, it is the Seattle Reads book for 2013, but all the more reason you should pick it up. It's a great read, movingly told and extremely well written about a man who gets a phone call one day about his father having just attempted suicide and the fallout from that moment as everybody picks up the pieces. It's honest and hard to read at times: sadness, loss, anger, etc., are not great subjects for bright summer days, but put it on your to-read list and do it.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sara Habein

    I read this touching memoir in one sitting. Beginning with the suicide attempt of his father, Gregory Martin discovers why the man who raised him has reached this point. Not only was his father sexually abused as a child, but he has also been a closeted gay man throughout the entirety of his 39 year marriage. He has admitted to Martin’s mother that he has sought out “hundreds” of unknown partners at parks and rest stops while traveling and while the rest of the family slept at home. Because they I read this touching memoir in one sitting. Beginning with the suicide attempt of his father, Gregory Martin discovers why the man who raised him has reached this point. Not only was his father sexually abused as a child, but he has also been a closeted gay man throughout the entirety of his 39 year marriage. He has admitted to Martin’s mother that he has sought out “hundreds” of unknown partners at parks and rest stops while traveling and while the rest of the family slept at home. Because they lived in Spokane, Washington, the settings were very familiar to me, having myself lived there for several years. Though the book focuses on Martin’s perspective and not his father’s, this isn’t a simple story of “troubled man comes out” — this is about a father and a son having to navigate an almost entirely new relationship. It’s an interesting exploration of memory, identity, and empathy, and I’m glad I read it. (Full Disclosure: Hawthorne Books provided me with the e-book for review. This review originally appeared in Persephone Magazine.)

  14. 5 out of 5

    Terry Ferko

    Gut wrenching I found myself mudded reading this book. I imagine it’s the perspective as a child would need to wrestle through understand a gay parent. It brought a lot of clarity to light. I would strongly recommend this to anyone who wishes to reconcile with their parent and get over the emotional road blocks we build for ourselves.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Elena

    A complicated family memoir Contemporary life style choices were not out in the open during the 1960’s and ‘70’s. This memoir points to the fact that gay people existed but it was not until decades later that many were comfortable admitting their choices.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Casey

    "A graveyard is a wilderness, a place beyond boundaries, a home for unknowns and loss." "I could not wait to be there with him. I loved those mornings with him, the two of us driving there and back in the quiet of that big car. Or at least I cherish those memories now. Research shows that I have very little authority to speak on behalf of the fleeting emotional states of my formal self. That was thirty years ago. Even writing this paragraph damages my ability to act as credibly proxy for that bro "A graveyard is a wilderness, a place beyond boundaries, a home for unknowns and loss." "I could not wait to be there with him. I loved those mornings with him, the two of us driving there and back in the quiet of that big car. Or at least I cherish those memories now. Research shows that I have very little authority to speak on behalf of the fleeting emotional states of my formal self. That was thirty years ago. Even writing this paragraph damages my ability to act as credibly proxy for that brown-haired, black-robed boy. We remember best and most not what we experience, but what we SAY about what we experience." "I had the irrepressible feeling that something had been taken from me, or that I'd lost something, something intangible, maybe, but with the powerful emotional associations of an object, a possession, an heirloom. I kept feeling that I'd gotten something crucially wrong. My knowledge of my father's secret life had tainted and bled into the way I thought about my past. I felt that my childhood, in many of its particulars, had been some how falsified." "The past cannot be lost in the present. Not even memories were lost, because memories are not fixed but ever-changing, because memories do not record the past buy are only constructions invented in the present. They are a feat of the imagination. They are made now and last only seconds - flashes, images, evanescent, impermanent, gone. Forever. They are not even words on a page." "I wish I could have those manuscripts, those drafts of my father's stories he wrote when I was a boy, during that time when he was the age I am now, the time when it was irrevocably dawning on him that he was not who he was pretending to be, that he had been in denial a long time, but that denial was no longer working. That time when so much of his life was good and happy and so much of his life was deception - and he knew it and kept going. What words, what sentences, did he put down then? What was the balance between action and reflection? Were the conflicts rooted in situations - a star likely to explode, a huge asteroid on a deadly trajectory, approaching the colony at terrible speed? Or were there more internal conflicts the characters faced, for which they had no good answers? What shape did these stories take? How did these conflicts play out? How did these stories end? I"m aware that in a good story a character has to want something badly, and this character cannot get what he wants. Not really. He gets something else. Knowing this doesn't make the loss of my father's stories, thousands and thousands of words, and easier." "In publishing my book, my librarian was saying: I see you. I see how much time you spend here. You love to read, you love to write, you want to be a writer. Be a writer. I have never forgotten. What a gift, the gift of recognition. The gift of permission. Be who you are. It means everything and when others who matter give it to you, it becomes easier, though never easy, to give that permission to yourself." "I had no idea then about the burden of memory and its costs and consequences. That was something I would still have to learn." "In a very deep sense you don't have a self unless you have a secret ...And we are now learning that some people are better at doing this than others." "But it came to me that morning that the most difficult truths I'd had to accept were not related to my father's homosexuality or what had been done to him as a child. It was far more difficult to accept his loneliness and isolation. And my mother's loneliness and isolation. I had always thought of them together; I had always thought of them comforting one another into their old age. Then, when one of them died, the other would be comforted by the memories of their life together. But those memories were of no comfort now." "I am sort-of-happy for him - a happiness mixed with heartache that I don't have a name for but am learning to accept."

  17. 4 out of 5

    J.D. Romann

    Somehow I missed this last year as the 2013 Seattle Reads the Same Book pick. So glad it crossed my path in 2014. It's an important reminder, especially for those of us who imagine and write the romantic side of m/m relationships, of how far our society has come in such a short span of time, and of the very human price paid in our culture by those who struggle with being “other.” Coming out and living openly as a gay man was not an option for the author’s father when he was young, by time or geo Somehow I missed this last year as the 2013 Seattle Reads the Same Book pick. So glad it crossed my path in 2014. It's an important reminder, especially for those of us who imagine and write the romantic side of m/m relationships, of how far our society has come in such a short span of time, and of the very human price paid in our culture by those who struggle with being “other.” Coming out and living openly as a gay man was not an option for the author’s father when he was young, by time or geography, and he seems like a deer in the headlights when he suddenly, at an older age, finds himself “out” in a rapidly changing world that he can’t seem to fall into step with. He seems stunned, and lonely, and lost, and wonderful, and wonderfully human. What a brave man to allow his son to write his story. His son does him the credit of writing about him in an inquisitive, insightful, profound and intelligent way, turning, as the best memoirs do, his lens as much on himself and his own sense of judgement as on his father’s decades-long duplicity. The author, a father to two boys, as his own father was, says, “There was a difference between the story my children needed to hear and the story I needed to tell them. Those were two different stories.” I am glad the author told this story.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    This is the latest installment in the "Seattle Reads" program. This memoir by Gregory Martin chronicles his parents' divorce and the impact of his father's secret life. For 39 years, Greg's parents seemed happily married, raising a family, and going through the rituals of family life. But Greg's dad had a very private side, no one knew he was gay. For years, he had sexual encounters with hundreds of men, unbeknownst to Greg's mother and the family. Once discovered, Greg's father attempts suicide, This is the latest installment in the "Seattle Reads" program. This memoir by Gregory Martin chronicles his parents' divorce and the impact of his father's secret life. For 39 years, Greg's parents seemed happily married, raising a family, and going through the rituals of family life. But Greg's dad had a very private side, no one knew he was gay. For years, he had sexual encounters with hundreds of men, unbeknownst to Greg's mother and the family. Once discovered, Greg's father attempts suicide, and this is how Greg and his siblings come to find out his father's secret. Greg does a wonderful job of describing his angst and frustration towards his father, while acknowledging his love for the man who raised him. He discovers that his father's childhood had years of abuse and the culture his father grew up in did not support gay men. He wavers between rage and sympathy and he struggles with how to explain grandpa's divorce to his own two young boys. Personal photographs and emails are interspersed throughout, and I have to wonder what Greg's father thought of the entire book. I've seen this book has some mixed reviews, but I really enjoyed it.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Heidi

    What is it about this book? A Seattle Reads selection, it got glowing reviews by most folks; sadly, it was not the book for me. The writing seemed awkard and disjointed, almost skitterish. I tired of the author's relentless badgering of his father. The constant questioning was unkind and the information he was seeking probably best received in a time that his father chose, not the author. Page 82: "One night, I interrogated my father on this issue." Really? As if his father didn't have enough fe What is it about this book? A Seattle Reads selection, it got glowing reviews by most folks; sadly, it was not the book for me. The writing seemed awkard and disjointed, almost skitterish. I tired of the author's relentless badgering of his father. The constant questioning was unkind and the information he was seeking probably best received in a time that his father chose, not the author. Page 82: "One night, I interrogated my father on this issue." Really? As if his father didn't have enough feelings of guilt. Maybe that's why the story didn't set well with me--I empathized with the father for the treatment he endured by his son. The small black and white photos were unnecessary, IMHO. I did enjoy the photo of the author and his sons in the treehouse, though, as it was a close shot showing the bonding of the three men of the family. Likewise, the copy of Walt Whitman's poem on page 183 was spot-on for the chapter emphasis, namely shame. A good connection between the life of the acclaimed writer and that of this author's father.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Gavin Stephenson-Jackman

    This is an interesting read of coming to terms, growth and acceptance. Gregory relates his own growth and acceptance of new knowledge about his father. Over a four and a half year span he learns much about his father's painful youth, and resulting self destructive behaviours. Behaviours which have lead to attempted suicide, and divorce. Gregory works through his anger at his father, suicide attempt and his infidelity to his wife with other men. In the process he recognises his own prejudices and This is an interesting read of coming to terms, growth and acceptance. Gregory relates his own growth and acceptance of new knowledge about his father. Over a four and a half year span he learns much about his father's painful youth, and resulting self destructive behaviours. Behaviours which have lead to attempted suicide, and divorce. Gregory works through his anger at his father, suicide attempt and his infidelity to his wife with other men. In the process he recognises his own prejudices and sees how they might affect his own children. In this recognition he comes to acceptance of his father and his 'flaws'. This acceptance allows him to build a new relationship with his father that he had felt he had lost at the beginning of the story. There is a lesson here for all of us if we are willing to look at ourselves as thoroughly as we look at others.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Teresa

    I typically don't write reviews, but I loved this book. I saw a compassionate account of a father-son relationship where everything the son thought he knew about his father was turned upside down. It starts out rather depressing, but there are many memories that are uplifting, intertwined with observations and side stories, that give the reader a break from the reality of what the son has just learned about his father. Many of the reviewers judge Gregory Martin as harshly questioning his father, I typically don't write reviews, but I loved this book. I saw a compassionate account of a father-son relationship where everything the son thought he knew about his father was turned upside down. It starts out rather depressing, but there are many memories that are uplifting, intertwined with observations and side stories, that give the reader a break from the reality of what the son has just learned about his father. Many of the reviewers judge Gregory Martin as harshly questioning his father, but I would not have understood if he had not had some questions and wanted some answers from his father. His father answers his questions as best as he can, and I can't help but think this had to have been helpful to his father as well, after all the secrecy. There are also kind memories of a father who was caring and loving.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Judith

    I guess I am kind of a sucker for memoir. This was the book chosen as the shared reading book by Seattle Public Library this year. I thought it was pretty tough content to promote for such wide reading, but I imagine it started a lot of conversations. Beyond the obvious topics of suicide, living in the closet,coming out, and broken families the real heart of the story is in how we, as adults, are in relationship with our parents. And that is a hard nut to crack, so this was a good way to put som I guess I am kind of a sucker for memoir. This was the book chosen as the shared reading book by Seattle Public Library this year. I thought it was pretty tough content to promote for such wide reading, but I imagine it started a lot of conversations. Beyond the obvious topics of suicide, living in the closet,coming out, and broken families the real heart of the story is in how we, as adults, are in relationship with our parents. And that is a hard nut to crack, so this was a good way to put some thought into that question. What it comes down to is that unconditional love really needs to work both ways.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Christy Keating

    I loved this memoir and felt that it touched on a heretofore taboo subject in a realistic way. Many readers seemed to fault the author for making it about him, but isn't that what a memoir really is? While I have infinite sympathy for the father who was forced into a lie by an intolerant society, I also empathize deeply for the author whose entire world was rocked by his father's revelations and suicide attempt. Rather than fault the author for struggling with this, I thought his emotional journ I loved this memoir and felt that it touched on a heretofore taboo subject in a realistic way. Many readers seemed to fault the author for making it about him, but isn't that what a memoir really is? While I have infinite sympathy for the father who was forced into a lie by an intolerant society, I also empathize deeply for the author whose entire world was rocked by his father's revelations and suicide attempt. Rather than fault the author for struggling with this, I thought his emotional journey was a very realistic one, and I thought the writing and conversational style fitting for the subject matter. I thought it was a brave book and is one I would recommend.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Christy

    Everyone got something out of this book, even those who didn't quite like it at first. The process of growth and acceptance the author went through rang true and brutally honest. Finding out your father was not only gay, but had been having frequent middle of the night trysts kept secret from absolutely everyone, would be a real blow to anyone. Writing about his feelings as he had them, even those he later regretted, was a brave decision. Beautifully written. We liked the book and hated the titl Everyone got something out of this book, even those who didn't quite like it at first. The process of growth and acceptance the author went through rang true and brutally honest. Finding out your father was not only gay, but had been having frequent middle of the night trysts kept secret from absolutely everyone, would be a real blow to anyone. Writing about his feelings as he had them, even those he later regretted, was a brave decision. Beautifully written. We liked the book and hated the title.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Patricia Kay

    I read this book for our annual Seattle Reads. Written as if the author had kept a daily journal of his emotional struggles. This book could be of value to any adult who must face the challenge of accepting a parent, friend, their own children whose life path has differed from their own. The curious reader will not gain insight into a gay man's life for the purpose of this book is Gregory's raw emotions, growth and resolution in accepting what he could not change. I read this book for our annual Seattle Reads. Written as if the author had kept a daily journal of his emotional struggles. This book could be of value to any adult who must face the challenge of accepting a parent, friend, their own children whose life path has differed from their own. The curious reader will not gain insight into a gay man's life for the purpose of this book is Gregory's raw emotions, growth and resolution in accepting what he could not change.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Perri

    This was uncomfortable to read-like I was snooping in somebody's diary. Martin had a devastating discovery about his father, and the book is about him processing the information and how it alters their relationship. I never had a clear understanding of why Martin wrote the story. Cathartic unleashing of his rage/resentment? Vehicle for punishing his dad? I'd be more interested to hear his dad's story. This was uncomfortable to read-like I was snooping in somebody's diary. Martin had a devastating discovery about his father, and the book is about him processing the information and how it alters their relationship. I never had a clear understanding of why Martin wrote the story. Cathartic unleashing of his rage/resentment? Vehicle for punishing his dad? I'd be more interested to hear his dad's story.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    I liked this books and appreciated the exploartion of controversial and sometiems difficult topics. However, I felt at times that it got slow as the author struggled with his inner battles around his feelings about said topics. Don't get me wrong, that added to the book too, I guess it was just a little more reflective than I prefer. I liked this books and appreciated the exploartion of controversial and sometiems difficult topics. However, I felt at times that it got slow as the author struggled with his inner battles around his feelings about said topics. Don't get me wrong, that added to the book too, I guess it was just a little more reflective than I prefer.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Steven

    A phenomenal memoir, full of pain, heartache, and redemption. I loved it. Well worth the read, but a very quick one. Just a heads up, there are some moments where the stories lull and draw parallels to psychology, even music. Other than that, I loved it.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Shawna

    Greenwood library book club April 2013 and Seattle Reads 2013. Wish I could give this 2.5. The first few chapters I was instantly emotionally vested. Along the way I lost connection with the characters.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    A well written exploration of a painful episode in one family's life and what it means to " know our parents." I found this particularly moving as my daughter processes what it means to know the father of her child and the truth about decisions he has made. A well written exploration of a painful episode in one family's life and what it means to " know our parents." I found this particularly moving as my daughter processes what it means to know the father of her child and the truth about decisions he has made.

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