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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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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