Quick Reads: “Oddly Normal” by John Schwartz

Oddly Normal: One Family’s Struggle to Help Their Teenage Son Come to Terms with His Sexuality

By John Schwartz

GOTHAM BOOKS

Joe, the youngest son of New York Times reporter John Schwartz, grew up playing with Barbies, BeDazzling his toys, and ransacking his big sister’s jewelry box. Schwartz knew his “fabulous five-year-old,” sashaying around the house in pink light-up shoes, was different, but was he gay? Eight years later, when Joe came out, his schoolmates took the news in typical middle-school fashion—horribly. It wasn’t long before the boy tried to kill himself with a Benadryl overdose. Equal parts memoir and reportage, Oddly Normal chronicles the Schwartz family’s mistakes, heartaches, and triumphs in raising a child coming to grips with his sexuality.

This review originally appeared in our November/December issue of Mother Jones.

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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