Linda Drajem grew up in the 1950’s in Buffalo, New York, the oldest child in a Catholic working-class family. She married her high school sweetheart, got pregnant, and watched from the sidelines as women burned their bras and demanded equal rights. But the role of a stay-at-home mom wasn’t as fulfilling as he was led to believe it would be.
Christopher, Linda’s second son, was born in 1968, one year before the Stonewall riots kick-started the modern gay rights movement. He attended Catholic schools, served as an altar boy at mass on Sundays, and had a secret that he was sure would send him to hell for all eternity: he was gay.
This book charts the path Christopher and Linda traveled as they realized that the life they were born into just didn’t quite fit. The stories in this book trace the tentative steps taken by both mother and son to move away from societal, religious, and family expectations, and examines how the relationship between mother and son allowed each to persevere through difficult personal change. Together, and with their family and friends, they forged a path that brought personal satisfaction, a uniquely modern family, and all the comfort of home.
For a very long time, I resisted the idea of a sort of collaborative memoir. I asked myself why anyone on earth, besides my family and friends, would be interested in me. That may still be true. But I am now convinced that both of us, son and mother, have been on somewhat parallel journeys shaped by the great cultural shifts in women’s rights and gay rights….Each of us in our own way has tried to contribute to these societal efforts to expand notions of what it means to be fully human, fully ourselves.Linda, from the Introduction
What readers are saying
I think many readers will relate to this family, what they went through, and how honesty and family unity will always win the day. ~ Female reader, aged 61
This memoir is a love song between a mother and her son. Linda’s refrains share her longing for her son Christopher’s happiness, her own struggles to go beyond the expectations of society, church and her family of birth, and her eventual realization of what it means to be a feminist; Christopher’s lyrics are not less full of searching, and at times, agony, as he painfully hides from his mother–and everyone else– what he knows about himself. Fortunately, with searing honesty he shares his heart-rending and human becoming. When Christopher finally “comes out” as a gay man and Linda comes into her own as a confident feminist, new songs, original songs offer the reader a visceral insight of what gay people endure and celebrate and what it means to be a fierce feminist as a mother and LBTQ activist. And, especially, what family really means. This book is a story of people but also an education of the legal aspect of gay marriage and adoption. It also contains poems that pull us to deeper understanding. Like songs in your head that refuses to leave, the Drajem’s memories will stay with you. ~Evelyn Brady, author
A thoroughly enjoyable read describing the journey of a feminist mum and gay son, and the challenge they faced. Thought-provoking in parts, this is a compelling read not only in terms of the family ́s story but also in terms of the cultural history of the United States. ~Male reader, aged 63