Sally shares vignettes from her childhood with a father who had bouts of raging anger and then may not speak to her for months. She had fear of him, even into adulthood. The inconsistency of his personality took a toll on her. She believed her father didn't love her as much as her mother did.
In grade school, Sally felt like she didn't belong. When with other girls, “I knew I didn't belong. I acted as though I did, but inside I knew I was all alone.” (102) She didn't feel like she was doing a good job of being a girl. She was often mistaken for a boy. By high school, she hadn't developed physically as quickly as the other girls. She felt uncomfortable being a girl.
She shares events over her early life that built up her mistrust of men. Men were angry, deceptive and dangerous. Women were safe and were her advocates.
While she dated men in college, by her junior year she felt like she was in love with another female student. Although she did not act on her feelings, she could not deny they were a part of her.
Sally went in to a career of teaching after college graduation. She continued to have experiences, such as with male principals, that reinforced her feelings toward men.
Being a Christian, and having been raised in a Christian home (yes, a Christian home with a Sunday School teaching, raging father), Sally knew the life of holiness to which she was called. She sought counseling. She was able to talk with her parents and form a relationship with her father. She decided to go back to school and get a law degree.
Sally does not have any easy answers for her life. She still finds herself living in tension, the unresolved conflict of what God calls her too and the longing to be in intimate relationship. She is still filled with questions as to how to live the life of holiness.
This is a very insightful memoir. At first I thought Sally spent too much time on her childhood but I realized how important those childhood experiences were in the development of her personality.
In the end, Sally offers no pat answers. She knows what Scripture says. She knows what God requires of her. She still struggles. She writes that if someone can relate to her story and feel less alone, then it has all been worth it. (239) She has established a nonprofit ministry providing safe places for conversation about same-sex attraction. Find out more at www.centerpeace.net.
This is an excellent book for Christians experiencing unwanted same-sex attraction, for families and church leaders who want to understand and respond to those experiencing same-sex attraction, and for parents who want to instill healthy views of gender in their children. (Fathers beware. Your anger could have a devastating effect on your children.)
Watch the book trailer here.
Sally Gary holds degrees in communication from Abilene Christian University and a law degree from Texas Tech University. A former high school debate coach, trial lawyer, and college professor, Sally is a teacher at heart. She is the founder and director of CenterPeace, a nonprofit ministry providing safe places for conversation about same-sex attraction in families and churches. She lives in Abilene, Texas. Follow her blog at http://sallygary.wordpress.com/
Leafwood Publishers (ACU Press), 240 pages.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.