Born in Mount Vernon, Ohio, October 26, 1946, the daughter of Oliver Duane Forman and Helen Ransom Forman, Dew grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where her father set up his medical practice. She also spent a great deal of her childhood in Gambier, Ohio, where she visited and occasionally lived with her maternal grandparents, Robb Reavill and John Crowe Ransom. During that time she found herself surrounded by a wide range of poets and writers connected with the Kenyon Review, or who were friends, colleagues, or former students of her grandfather's. Her godfather was Robert Penn Warren, who was a close friend of the family's.
She attended Louisiana State University but did not graduate. In 1968, she married Charles B. Dew. The couple moved to Columbia, Missouri, in 1969, where Charles taught history at the University of Missouri at Columbia. They have two sons, Charles Stephen, born in 1971, and John Forman, born in 1973. The family moved to Williamstown, Massachusetts, in 1977, where Charles B. Dew is now the Ephraim Williams Professor of American History at Williams College.
Dew's first novel, Dale Loves Sophie to Death, was published in 1981 and won the 1982 National Book Award in category First Novel. She has taught at the Iowa Writer's Workshop, has received a Guggenheim fellowship, and was awarded an honorary degree by Kenyon College in 2007. Her latest novel is Being Polite to Hitler.
The Family Heart: A Memoir of When Our Son Came Out by Robb Forman Dew
Paperback: 229 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reprint edition (May 16, 1995)
Amazon: The Family Heart: A Memoir of When Our Son Came Out
"ASTONISHINGLY MOVING...The Family Heart is a tough and challenging work, for it reminds us that empathy is a humble but radical virtue, if lived." --USA Today
" I'm gay.' Every day, parents around the world hear those words from their children. Most are utterly unprepared for them. By writing The Family Heart, Robb Forman Dew has done such parents an extraordinary service." --The Washington Post Book World
"TOUCHINGLY WRITTEN." --The Boston Globe
"At the heart of this memoir lies a true epiphany: the author's sudden, galvanizing awareness of the suicidal consequences of homophobia. It is a chilling moment, and it is described with a writer's eloquence and a mother's rage....Dew's intense imagination, combined with her ignorance of homosexuality, was as much a hindrance as a help, and it is to her credit that she has recorded the occasionally wacky assumptions and painful readjustments of her own odyssey with such care and humor." --The New Yorker
"POETIC, HONEST." --Fort Worth Star-Telegram
"Eloquent and absorbing...The true testament of Mrs. Dew and her husband as parents, and the most powerful moments of this inspiring memoir, occur when they come out' to their community as parents of a gay child....Though Mrs. Dew imparts a lot of self-gained wisdom in this perceptive and beautifully articulated story, in the end she realizes she has something she has always had--a strong loving family and two good sons." --The Dallas Morning News
"AMEN FROM ANY MOTHER, EVERY MOTHER." --Anna Quindlen, The New York Times
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