I first “met” Natalie Perry in a memoirists group online. She had posted about her book, “Dad #1, Dad #2: A Queerspawn View From the Closet” which was coming out soon. Since I have a book about growing up with lesbian moms coming out this fall, I was super excited to connect with her. She in turn, introduced me to the word queerspawn and the queerspawn community. It turned out, I belonged to a tribe, and didn’t even know it.
Natalie’s book came out today, and I bought it on Kindle because I couldn’t wait for a paper copy to come in the mail. I figured I would read a few chapters, then go about my day. I had other things to do. It turned out that none of those things got done because once I started reading, I didn't stop until I finished it. Now, that doesn't happen all that often for me. I am currently reading three other books—no, four—and I have my own writing and family and all that to contend with, but the subject matter electrified me.
Our lives (and books) are very different, but there’s an undercurrent of commonality. I felt the same spark of exciting reading it that I felt when I saw Fun Home on the stage—this was a family that looked something like my family. I had never seen anyone like us in literature before. I keep saying, “Oh my God! That happened to me, too! I know exactly what you mean!”
Here's a few highlights from Kindle location 273:
I have never felt like this while reading someone else’s story before, and it was thrilling. This is why we need more diverse voices. Everyone should get to feel this connection. Everyone should see their family on the page.
Here's another highlight where I said out loud, "That was my life, too!" (Kindle Location 605)
But as many similarities as we have, there are plenty of differences, too. Natalie had what appears to be a very happy family life. Her father’s gayness provided her with an additional parent whom she loved, but she also had a stable and loving relationship between all her parents—her mother and fathers all got together regularly and supported each other. I have to admit I was a little jealous.
For example, Kindle location 525. Why didn't we think to do this?
And this sentiment from location 709 was never present in our family, though I think everyone would have been happier if it was:
In the end, this book is a love song to a family, and a work of advocacy.
(kindle location 3165)
Natalie Perry's book, Dad #1, Dad #2 is available on kindle or in paperback through Amazon.com.
Copyright © 2021 Lara Lillibridge
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