Laila Ibrahim shares a story full of sadness and love in her book Living Right. She shares a mother’s journey about accepting her gay son.
I received a copy of Living Right from the author in exchange for an honest review. This review contains spoilers.
For me the two main characters were Jenn and her son Josh. There was also Jenn’s husband, Steve, and two daughters, but Jenn and Josh played the major roles. The story is told through Jenn’s perspective as she finds out about Josh’s sexuality, and how she deals with it due to her strong Christian faith.
The story of a religious mom facing the truth about her queer kid(s) is nothing new. But Laila Ibrahim tells a story that makes you feel for Jenn. She has very strong opinions when it comes to why someone wants a queer lifestyle. However, her opinions are understandable due to the way she has lived her religious life. She protests against gay marriage, and has devoted her life to spreading the love of her religion. That is why the realization that her own son is gay hits her hard. She belongs to the group of religious people who don’t hate queerness but they still think of it as a sin and pray that queer folk see the right path.
The reasons Jenn hears regarding why her son turned gay included her being too close her son, Josh’s room not being masculine enough, Josh doing feminine chores around the house, being molested as a child, etc., but they were reasons that people do give each other in real life.
While the family struggles with Josh’s ‘condition’, it is Josh’s life that brings the sobs. Due to his religious family and his own strong faith, he has been struggling with his sexuality for years. This leads him to attempt suicide, join gay conversion camps, and much more to find a cure.
Things begin to change near the end of Living Right. Jenn talks to a mother who lost her gay son. Their conversation helped Jenn understand what it meant to be religious and still love Josh. Her husband and daughters also accept Josh for who he is, a lot earlier than Jenn, and the ending of the story shows a much happier family.
Living Right talks about a controversial issue and tries to answer the question regarding sexuality and faith through the story of a mother who understands what it really means to love her children. While you don’t have to agree with the book, it does throw light on what queer kids have to experience in a non-accepting society.
Have you read Living Right yet? What did you think? Let us know!
Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.
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