Prayers for Bobby by Leroy Aarons
Published by: HarperOne
Publication Date: August 9th, 1996 (First Published in 1995)
Genres: Nonfiction, LGBTQIA+, Biography
Date Read: 13/06/2015
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Bobby Griffith was an all-American boy …and he was gay. Faced with an irresolvable conflict-for both his family and his religion taught him that being gay was “wrong”-Bobby chose to take his own life. Prayers for Bobby, nominated for a 1996 Lambda Literary Award, is the story of the emotional journey that led Bobby to this tragic conclusion. But it is also the story of B Bobby Griffith was an all-American boy …and he was gay. Faced with an irresolvable conflict-for both his family and his religion taught him that being gay was “wrong”-Bobby chose to take his own life. Prayers for Bobby, nominated for a 1996 Lambda Literary Award, is the story of the emotional journey that led Bobby to this tragic conclusion. But it is also the story of Bobby’s mother, a fearful churchgoer who first prayed that her son would be “healed,” then anguished over his suicide, and ultimately transformed herself into a national crusader for gay and lesbian youth.
As told through Bobby’s poignant journal entries and his mother’s reminiscences, Prayers for Bobby is at once a moving personal story, a true profile in courage, and a call to arms to parents everywhere.
This book was very good. I watched the movie first, and I highly recommend watching the movie before you read this book, so you can more fully appreciate it. The book deals also with the history of gay and lesbian teens and advocating for their rights, and at points can be more dull than the movie, which simply covers the life of Bobby Griffith.
Its filled with a powerful message that brings awareness to homosexuality and suicide and the connection between the two. Prayers for Bobby by Leroy Aarons gives hope that there is a future. This story was tear worthy. Bobby Griffith was a beautiful person, placed in a time and life where his circumstances were unfortunate. Today, perhaps, Bobby would have survived his self-discovery, but his story, no matter how tragic, can be a lesson to us all.
“I write this in hopes that one day, many years from now, I will be able to go back and remember what my life was like when I was a young and confused adolescent desperately trying to understand myself and the world I live in. At the rate I’m going right now, though, I seriously wonder if I’ll live to be very old, that is if I will live past being a teenager. Another reason I write this is so that long after I die, others may have a chance to read about me and see what my life as a young person was like….”
Leroy Aaron’s did a great job on bringing the story to light in this book. His incorporation of Bobby’s diary entries and the flashbacks of Mary’s early life was a great addition to this book. It gave me some insight on how she became the way she did.
‘You can change if you really want to’, they say. ‘Don’t underestimate the Lord’s power.’ God damnit, how in the hell do any of them know? What gives them the right to tell me I’m going to burn in eternal hellfire and damnation? They account my ‘deviation’ to an inherent sinful nature. Well, then, if God gave it to me, I’m gonna keep it! They think I’m so blind and stupid, well they’re the ones who are wrong.”
This is the most heartbreaking book I have ever read. By the time Mary made the change I have to admit I was proud of her and just wished it had happened before Bobby died. I truly believe this book could change a lot of peoples opinions.
“As an old saying quotes, stick and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. Personally, I don’t agree with this one at all because most of the times, word violence are millions times worse than physical violence.”