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03/08/2013

How to make an author's Friday night

by Jeremy Hooper

From a reader:

I have debated back and forth for the past few weeks, deciding if I were actually going to send this message. The main thought I had was "what words can I possibly use to even attempt to explain what reading his book has done for me?" Also, I know you get many messages throughout the day and I didn't want it to just be another generic "oh! Your book is so wonderful, it spoke to me, etc." e-mail. This is not to bash it, nor is it to boost your ego. I honestly don't know what it is, but hopefully it makes sense to you in the end.

First, let me introduce myself. My name is [name redacted] and I am a 21-year-old recent college graduate. I am from a small town in [a U.S. state], but I will be moving to [another state] this August for graduate school. Lastly, I am a straight female (not that it should make any difference anyway, right?) You probably didn't need to know any of that information, but hey, it makes it easier for me to be comfortable explaining things to you. So, that being said, HI, FRIEND!

My best friend loaned your book to me when I went to visit him in Chicago last September. He had mentioned it multiple times a few months before, but he was still reading it and I didn't want to take it away. When he offered it to me, you bet your buns I took it! I began the book on my sad, lonely flight home. I found myself truly enjoying it. [Joe], the friend, sometimes tells me about things that he enjoys and I don't always enjoy it the same way he does. I was truly surprised at how much I was enjoying this book. Flash forward five months when I had the chance to finally finish this book. WOW. That's probably the only word I have to describe it. I found myself laughing, crying, getting mad, having my heart completely full of hope and having a completely different perspective on LGBT people
300X250Choicebookthroughout reading this book. My heart truly broke for you while reading about your family, which is truly a loss. They're missing out on an amazing once in a lifetime love. Who would want to miss that?

I met my best friend, [Joe], in August of 2011. From the instant we became friends, I knew he was meant to be in my life forever. Three days after we became friends, he came out to me. At this point and time in his life, he was not out to many people (maybe 4 or 5 people) and he had the faith and trust in me to let me into such a huge part of his life and who he is. Needless to say, I was amazed that he would trust me. Really? Me? Of all people? We've been inseparable since. The day that I came into his life, his boyfriend at the time broke up with him. I always say that the day he lost him, he gained me. Which is a better trade off anyways. When he told me he was gay, my response was "I know, but I wanted you to come to me with it when you were ready. Even though I was dying to ask! It doesn't change a thing for me. I need you to understand that. You're still you. I still want to be your friend." That sealed it. I know that when it comes down to the end of the day, he is the friend who listens, understands, holds me up, builds me up, loves me, cares for me, wants the best for me, and every other wonderful thing a friend should do. He's my confidant.

Back to the point. When I met [Joe] and he came out to me, it was really tough on him. Coming from a Catholic family, he knew it would be looked down upon. (It wasn't until months and months later that he came out to his father and finally to his mother.) Throughout all of this and many other huge events in his life, I stood by his side. I don't judge him, I don't judge who he loves, I don't judge what he does. How could I judge someone who is as amazing as he is just because it is frowned upon by society? I know it helps to have this perspective when I also have two sisters who are lesbian. One has been with her partner for 8 years and 4 months. Last June they had a commitment ceremony in the Bahamas. The other has been with her partner for about 4 years and she also has a daughter who is 10 years old. I wouldn't trade my sisters for anything. My family is very open-minded and we all have open hearts. Who someone chooses to love is not for us to judge. But, it is for us to love them unconditionally. Which we have done not only with my sisters, but with [Joe]. He is part of my family and he is treated that way. My entire family LOVES him and he knows that no matter what happens in his life, he always has this family to fall back on.

I'm not saying that [Joe] is unhappy being gay or that he struggles with it. I just want him to find someone that makes him happy. I want the best for him. Reading your book, I realized that I want him to find happiness in someone the way you have found happiness with Andrew. I truly believe you two are PERFECT for each other. I want [Joe] to feel Good As You.

Society has it all wrong. It's not who you love, it's how you love. As long as that love is true and right, then it's just as good as any other love that is okay by society's standards. I guess I'm struggling to explain exactly what it is that I want to say to you. In the end, I guess it is the cliche "Thank you for this amazing book" kind of message. I truly mean it from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for the example you set for LGBT people and the positive light you shine upon them. Thank you for giving all of them hope (even us straight people who just want their loved ones to be happy and accepted) that they, too, can find happiness in the one they love. Thank you for showing society that it is okay, it is normal, it is acceptable. You give them a good name.
...
Thank you for reading this entirely long email. I pray you and Andrew keep the love and happiness alive. That you live a long, happy, (future) child-filled life together and you never lose sight of what's most important: each other.

Nope—thank you.

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