elisa_rolle (elisa_rolle) wrote,

2015 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: Lead Me Not by Ann Gallagher

Lead Me Not by Ann Gallagher
Gay Contemporary General Fiction
Paperback: 348 pages
Publisher: Riptide Publishing (August 24, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1626492786
ISBN-13: 978-1626492783
Amazon: Lead Me Not

Isaac Morris has devoted his life to preaching against the sin of homosexuality. But when his sister proposes a documentary to demonstrate once and for all that it's a choice-with Isaac choosing to be gay as proof-he balks. Until he learns his nephew is headed down that perverted path. Isaac will do anything to convince the teenager he can choose to be straight . . . including his sister's film. When Isaac's first foray into the gay lifestyle ends with a homophobic beating, he's saved and cared for by Colton Roberts, a gentle, compassionate bartender with a cross around his neck. Colton challenges every one of Isaac's deeply held beliefs about gay men. He was kicked out by homophobic parents, saved from the streets by a kind pastor, and is now a devout Christian. Colton's sexuality has cost him dearly, but it also brought him to God.

As the two grow closer, everything Isaac knows about homosexuality, his faith, and himself is called into question. And if he's been wrong all along, what does that mean for his ministry, his soul, his struggling nephew-and the man he never meant to love?

This wonderful sappy work is narrated from the third person point of view of both our protagonists:  Isaac and Colton.  Since both men are dealing with their demons there is no other better way to express their love story than to see it from their respective points of view.  Themes like parental rejection are very well presented.  Colton would go to his parents' tomb to ask for forgiveness for being gay - even though it's quite clear that it was the parents who failed the son:  "The thing is, our parents are the core of our worlds from the time we're children.  Given the opportunity, for better or worse, children - even as adults - will forgive their parents faster and more often than they will anyone except their own children"  (Isaac tells Colton as he counsels Colton that what he really need to do is forgive himself.) On coming out:  "The night I came out, all I wanted was for my family to know I'd figured out who I was.  I didn't expect everything to change.  I didn't set out to be defined by it.  But I am.  Everything in my life for the last twelve years is defined by being gay." (Colton tells Isaac why he came out.) Low self esteem:  "The thing is, after my own parents turned me away, I was sure no one would ever love me again.  I didn't know if they'd ever loved me."  (Colton tells Isaac why he has such a hard forming a relationship.) On whether homosexuality is a choice:  "Tonight felt...bigger than it should have been.  Like it was something inevitable that we've been moving toward for...for I don't know how long.  Like God was moving us toward tonight, and when tonight happened, it wasn't something I could chose or deny.  It just...it just was."  (Isaac tells Colton on the first night they spend together.) Pastor Mike and Isaac hold a long discussion (Chapter 17) as to the validity of the Bible and as to whether it actually condemns homosexuals, transgenders, and masturbation.  Personally, I give the Bible as much validity as I give any other fairy tale, but for the sake of the work at hand, according to Pastor Mike:  transgenders are afflicted by a sin that "manifests as a mind whose gender is mismatched to its body," The story of Onan, which is used to condemn masturbation, "when Onan was condemned for 'spilling his seed upon the ground' it wasn't because he'd masturbated...he was for being disobedient to the Lord and for refusing to honor his dead brother" giving his widowed sister in law an heir, as the law required.  Sodom and Gomorra were destroyed for being inhospitable and for raping their guests.  Leviticus:  if you obeyed every rule in Leviticus, you could not wear a polyester blend, shave, or eat seafood.  Eagles and storks would be abominations also.  And finally the tale of the Centurion and his slave where Jesus cured the slave because the Centurion was in "love" with him - a very controversial passage that some people interpret as Jesus condoning homosexuality. I believe Ms. Gallagher has created a very important work and should be required reading for all high schools.  Not only it's wonderful read - I did shed some tears and could barely put the book down - but also, I believe it would make the world a better place.

Okay I really did not expect to like this book. And for a good part of it I was so damn annoyed with the damnation talk. I should have trusted that the author (who I love other works by) wouldn't write something like what I thought  i was reading. The evolution of Colton and Issac was beautiful. I don't know if I would read it again but it was a very touching and beautiful story about accepting who you are regardless of what others tell you you should do with your life.

Wow - I cried with this.  The tension and angst was wonderful.

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Tags: rainbow awards 2015

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