Friday, September 3, 2010

Book Review: Kathryn Shay's "The Perfect Family"

Below is a book review from PFLAG and TNET's Dave Parker of Kathryn Shay's The Perfect Family.

An excellent coming-out-gay family story!

Psychologist and Professor Maggie Davidson is struggling with her disenchantment with the Catholic Church over several policies, resulting in a building conflict with her very devout husband, Mike. As she is doing laundry one afternoon, her 17 year old son Jamie drops a bomb on her attempts to maintain the image of a Perfect Family – he is gay. What follows is an insightful novel about the effects on Jamie’s family, friends, and schoolmates.

Jamie’s brother Brian, a high school jock, is angry about the effect this will have with his friends. His dad, Mike, is revolted – the Church calls homosexuality an abomination and his son an unrepentant sinner. Maggie is more accepting. She loves her son, unconditionally, and her studies of psychology have led her to accept – academically – sexual orientation as natural in all its forms..But this is HER son!

As a researcher myself, I am very impressed with Shay’s ability to convey the attitudes and emotions surrounding the family’s coming out process so well. One might even believe there is some biographical content in this novel. Family members’ ability to hurt each other, and their friends’ rejection not only of Jamie but the rest of his family as well, strike true to life.

The Perfect Family is an easy, conversational read with a strong message. How should families react to such news? How can they protect a beloved child? And, in this case, can Maggie’s marriage survive?

I recommend this book highly. It is a must read for anyone dealing with coming out to their family, friends, and coworkers.

You can read an excerpt here.

To purchase this book, click here.

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