by Laila Ibrahim
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Pub Date 18 Apr 2016 | Archive Date 01 Aug 2016
Jenn Henderson is proud of the church-centered life she’s created for her family. She prays each morning, attends worship every Sunday, and confidently takes up the struggle to defend traditional marriage when she learns that marriage licenses are being issued to gays and lesbians in nearby San Francisco. But the certainty that she is living right falters after her teenage son, Josh, swallows a bottle of sleeping pills. Her fear deepens when she discovers that Josh struggles with same-sex attraction. If she's living right, how can Josh be gay?
Desperate for a cure, Jen and her husband send to a Christian Conversion Therapy camp recommended by their trusted pastor. Jenn is unwavering in her faith that Josh can be transformed by the grace of God. But as the story unfolds, her husband, son, and daughters seem to be questioning her deepest values, threatening irreparable damage to the tight-knit Henderson family.
Author Laila Ibrahim tackles a subject directly out of the headlines in Living Right, an intimate story about a mother’s struggle to reconcile her religious beliefs with her son's sexual orientation. Living Right strips away the politics of gay rights to reveal what’s really at stake in this ongoing conflict: family. As with her debut novel, Yellow Crocus, Ibrahim's second novel explores an intimate and sensitive topic with insight and compassion.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 9 members
I just finished this insightful book with tears in my eyes. I would want every evangelical pastor, every Christian youth group leader, every Christian parent of teenagers to read this book.
It's not a common issue for a novel nor it is a easy one. How does it effect the whole family if you learn (in this case by attempted suicide) that your child is homosexual? What about all the values and the right path to salvation you have been teaching them all their live? Is it your fault? What can you do now?
I am a devoted Christian and I must admit that I recognize a lot of Jenn's thoughts and fears, but I got incredibly angry with her pastor and the camp that was supposed to transform Josh and cure him.
This novel shows how easily we can break our children and with them our families by putting too much pressure on them, by expecting them to live according what we feel as right and by putting law over love.
PLOT: The story shows the journey of Jenn, a devoted Christian, firmly against homosexuality, even to the point of running her son's life and putting him in a gay camp. She kept trying to cure him, using God as an excuse. The pastor didn’t help either and to be honest most of the thing she said even his prayers were borderline offensive.
At some point, I wanted to bind Jenn and the pastor, tie them to a pile of stones, and offer them as a burnt sacrifice unto God. Seriously, almost everything that left their lips was insulting to the LGBT community.
I'm a Christian, but damn I've never actually taken things to that level. Do people really believe that being gay means you've been sexually traumatized at childhood, or that you lack a strong fatherly figure?
Thumbs up to the author for creating a book that made me laugh, cry scream and beg for it to just end, all the while flipping to the next page hoping for Josh's misery to end. At some point, I felt suicide was better than the crap Josh was subjected to thanks to his mother.
The concept of this book is by no means new, but it’s explored in a way unlike any other, the emotional conflicts, the suspense, the tension was all too real and the book dragged me out of my world and into the book, where I got to see every scene acted out in front of me. it was disconcerting and captivating.
I have a short attention span, and this book is by no means short, yet I couldn’t put it down!
CHARACTER: The main characters in the book as far as I’m concerned are Jenn and Josh.
Josh is a teenager who isn’t sure of his sexuality, and suspects he might be gay, knowing that his parents wouldn’t be comfortable with his ‘lifestyle’ (It’s called a lifestyle so many times in this book), he attempts suicide.
The interesting thing is that Josh knows who he is; he knows he’s gay and has known that for almost a decade, he’s made peace with it to some degree but he doesn’t want to give up his faith in Christ, nor does he want to disappoint his family. Unsure of what to do and tired of constantly fighting with his fate and disappointing his parents he attempts suicide.
The book is written from Jenn's perspective and we get to see what it’s like to be a 'devoted Christian' mother who has to deal with a homosexual son. We get to follow Jenn on the journey of acceptance and understanding.
Jenn as a person is annoying, gullible, forceful, and so FUCKING STUPID! I want to punch her in the face. And the fact that she kept listening to Pastor Jerry (I hope I got his name wrong, he doesn’t deserve his name spelt correctly). She listened to every word he said, even to the point of reading a damned pamphlet that said Josh had identity crisis because the first letter of his name is the same as hers. WHAT UTTER BULLSHIT.
It hurt me that Jenn alienated Josh from his family, she tried to ruin his life even without knowing it, God it hurt me to read the counselling scene with Pastor Jerry (I hope I got it wrong again), I wish I could snatch him from them and console him.
Okay, this is obviously something I'm passionate about and I’m never going to run out of things to say about this topic, so back to the book.
This book is amazing; the plot, the characters, the setting very part of this book is so vivid and emotionally charged. It just grips you and pulls you into a world where only the story exists. It’s amazing!
I just lost a nights worth of sleep because I HAD to finish this book. Ibrahim is an amazing author, and while thus book is completely different for her, it's no less gripping. Harsh, living, hurtful, and raw it's an excellent read for ant Christian, but especially one dealing with homosexuality and trying to understand.
This book shows many of the harsh realities of how difficult it is to be homosexual. My heart cringed with many of the stories of how much hate and misunderstanding was shown through church people. Unfortunaly many church people can be this way at times. However I loved how through this journey love was shown. It may not have been cookie cutter and perfect. Many people may disagree, but love is the greatest tool anyone has. You don't have to agree with a lifestyle to love a person. This book very well laid out the importance of love and the reality of how difficult it can be at times. The author does a great job at painting these pictures. The only downfall is I think the church is painted as using many outdated and proven uncessful methods, such as "curing" camps. I'd really hope that churches are beyond that point by now.
This book made me want to read the bible and I'm not a active Cristian.
I don't get a good feeling of the characters, it's like they're a blurry movie and that's to bad because this is a very strong story. This a book about a family of five that's Cristian and lives a "decent" life. Mom is staying home to take care of the kids and now the kids are grown up and teenagers. There's 3 kids and their only son try's to take his own life and their life changes drastically. The challenges he's facing is that he thinks he's gay. Jenn, the mother is struggling with her faith in God and feels like a failure as a mother. There is a lot of references from the bible and that made me wish I have read more of the bible to get the context. I've read books about gay people but it's always been from the gay person point of view, and it was interesting and heartbreaking to read it from a mother's point of view. The storyline is good and the writing style makes it easy to read. I enjoyed reading this book although I did feel a little disconnected to the characters as mentioned before.
I would say that this book is very relevant if you as a parent is struggling with accepting your children's or other relatives sexual preferences. I would also recommend it to people curious to why some have hard times accepting lesbian and gay people.
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