My Thinning Years: Starving the Gay Within
by Jon Derek Croteau
Hazelden. 240 pages, $14.95
IN MY GENERATION, gay boys and their fathers had complicated relationships. I know I did, growing up in a working-class Irish Catholic family in Chicago some sixty years ago. The middle child of five and oldest boy, I was not what my dad imagined his first son to be. There weren’t any role models back then for parents or questioning children, no networks of support. Popular culture demonized “homosexuals” as pathetic and lonely outcasts. My teenage years were the worst, when burgeoning sexuality was at its best conflicted and isolating. There was no one else who shared my secret, or at least that’s what I thought, until college.
There are many poignant parallels for me in Jon Derek Croteau’s beautifully crafted memoir of surviving an abusive father and overcoming his own anorexia and internalized homophobia.