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Family Outing by Troy Johnson

Pub Date:

 

Family Outing
Troy Johnson

Arcade
6-24-08
Hardcover/237 pages
ISBN: 1-55970-871-9
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". . . should be required reading for every family in America – gay and straight."

Family Outing: Coming to terms with a suddenly out gay parent.

What would you do if a neighbor said your mother was a lesbian? Troy broke down and cried. He didn’t really understand what the terms lesbian or homosexual meant, but he knew something had drastically changed, and he had lost his mother. Family Outing is Troy’s destructive journey away from—and circuitous path back to—his mother.

Family and friends distanced themselves from Troy’s mother when she came out. So did Troy. He told the family counselor it didn’t matter as long as his mother was happy, but he lied. It did matter. It wasn’t as hard for Troy as it was for his sister because, “Kim could see more of herself in our mother, and it sufficiently scared the crap out of her. In my case, well – thank God it wasn’t Dad.”

Troy chronicles his descent into juvenile delinquency, a brief almost-acquaintance with LSD, a longstanding love affair with booze, wild parties, sex and a month-long stay on a psych ward with wicked humor, wry observations and a deep, abiding fear of his own sexuality. From the moment Tattle Dyke and her daughter Freckle Spawn stopped him on his way to school to ask Troy’s mother out, Family Outing takes a wild and often painful ride into the destruction and awareness that is Troy Johnson’s life.

I have never laughed so hard or felt so much empathy for a young man’s struggle. Johnson’s observations are irreverent and shocking and honest, demonstrating the impact of society’s reactions to homosexuals and how those actions affect them and their families. Johnson doesn’t spare middle class morality, the government, the religious community or himself as he comes to terms with himself and his mother’s choices.

Family Outing should be required reading for every family in America – gay and straight.

Reviewer: J. M. Cornwell