Christian's Reviews > Swish: My Quest to Become the Gayest Person Ever

Swish by Joel Derfner
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Jan 11, 09

Read in December, 2008

To say that I loved this book would be a bit of an understatement. Such joy and amusement while reading. (If you ask Grant, too much joy and amusement, otherwise he wouldn't have told me to be quiet so he could sleep or concentrate on his sudoku.) Derfner has a voice and attitude rather similar to Dan Savage, and I think we all know how much I love Savage. When it comes down to it, Derfner is a good cross between Savage (wit and wisdom) and Sedaris (narrative storytelling).

And when you read other reviews where they talk about how Derfner manages to carry you over a multitude of emotions, it's true. Really, the book was quite good in capturing a range of feelings and experience and juxtaposing them against unexpected backdrops. For example, the chapter about the ex-gays included an insightful discussion of the differences in forgiveness in the Jewish and Christian traditions and what it means to love one's self. Or this snippet from the chapter about teaching aerobics:
"What would you say being gay means to you?" my sociology-student friend had asked.

I had thought for a long time before saying, "It's nothing, and it's everything."

Yes, being gay is just one of a thousand thousand traits that make up my character, no more remarkable than my love of M&M's or my ability to mess up a room in fifteen seconds flat or my failure to understand the appeal of Luke and Owen Wilson.

But I believe that the desire to love and be loved is the strongest force on earth. And in that way, being gay affects every interaction in which I take part—just as being straight affects every interaction in which straight people take part. Every human motive is in the end a yearning for companionship, and every act of every person on this planet is an effort not to be alone. (129)

When all is said and done, Derfner is a pleasant read, with plenty of humor mixed in with thoughts and lessons about life, insecurity, self-worth, and love.

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Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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Joel Derfner I'm so glad you liked my book! I have a new one out that you might enjoy too--it's called Lawfully Wedded Husband: How My Gay Marriage Will Save the American Family.

If you do end up reading it I'd love to know what you think.

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