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Gay Like Me: A Father Writes to His Son

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  178 ratings  ·  39 reviews
In this poignant and urgent love letter to his son, award-winning Broadway, TV and film producer Richie Jackson reflects on his experiences as a gay man in America and the progress and setbacks of the LGBTQ community over the last 50 years.

My son is kind, responsible, and hardworking. He is ready for college. He is not ready to be a gay man living in America.

When Jackson's
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published January 28th 2020 by Harper
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Feb 03, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: lgbt
The naiveté it takes to use a W.E.B. DuBois quote about the black experience, in order to describe the [white] gay experience, while failing to talk even once about white privilege in the LGBT community is upsetting. In fact, Richie Jackson's "Gay Like Me" left me wondering: if a gay father is writing a letter about "being gay" to his gay son in 2020, is it irresponsible to remain silent on the ways in which white gays have gained numerous privileges while their trans and PoC siblings have not?

Jan 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If I had to compare this book to another, I would say its similar to Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates but a gay man writing to his gay son, instructing him how to survive in a straight world. This book is a memoir, a love letter, a warning. it is urgent, prescient, emotional. I could hand this book to so many people. Read this, talk to me. This is the experience of a gay man. Every day requires coming out. Disease is still a very serious risk. Hatred is rampant, bubbling just under ...more
Mark Hiser
Feb 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Richie Jackson is the award-winning talent manager and producer of the hit television show, Nurse Jackie, as well as other Broadway plays, films, and television shows. He is the former partner of the actor B.D. Wong with whom he had a surrogacy-born son. Since 2012, he has been married to Jordan Roth, a Tony-Award winning producer.

At the age of 18, Richie Jacksons son came out to him as gay. Writing that my son is kind, responsible, and hardworking Jackson goes on to say that he is ready for
This had an ok premise, but really didn't work in execution. Jackson is gay and otherwise super-privileged, which he acknowledges, but is still apparent in his writing. His identity is completely vested in his being gay, which I understand, but he is very oblivious in other aspects.

It's so irresponsible to conflate the experiences of cis gays and trans people, especially since trans people are statistically more at-risk when it comes to hate crimes and similar situations. Jackson has a history
Brianna Carrasco
ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

I have pretty mixed opinions about this book. I didn't know who Richie Jackson was before getting this arc, so I didn't realize he's actually in the entertainment industry. From reading this book, I understand that Richie is a very intellectual, loving, and caring man and father. He'd lived through the AIDS crisis and now has a gay son who is going away to college and wants to share all the vital information he's
Jan 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I found it thought provoking, insightful, tremendously relatable and beautifully written.

This book had all of the elements of a truly wonderful work -- I could not put it down; I felt emotional while I was reading it; I wanted to immediately share parts of it with my husband and friends; I didn't want it to end; and I still remember it 30 minutes after I finished it -- notable with my goldfish memory!

I really appreciated the approach of the author "speaking" to his son and
Ali Winter
Jan 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Jacksons skill in the telling of this story combined with his openness make this book  a memoir, a call to action, the parenting book we havent had, but desperately need an extraordinary, edifying journey, and also at times a wrenching one. This is a first-person account of the AIDS crisis from someone who was there, in the community, losing his friends one by one, and how you live past that in a world that is supposedly beyond homophobia but risks erasing the lessons of what happened before. ...more
Feb 18, 2020 rated it it was ok
I cant imagine the experience of being a gay kid with a gay dad. That must be amazing. Having a dad care enough to write a book like this is an incredible gift. But, as an adult who is not Richie Jacksons kid, I didnt get a ton out of it.

The authors perspective is often hard to relate to. Although being gay is a core piece of my identity and experience of life, this author has a peculiar way of narrowing life to the extent that basically nothing outside of being gay even seems to exist. It is
Nov 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Five Stars*****
A complex and beautiful love note to his young son who also happens to be gay. This book was filled with tender and provoking thoughts on why remembering you are a gay man is so important. The author now is in his fifties and does not want his son to take for granted how much was fought to advance the gay community and get some of the basic rights always taken for granted by the heterosexual community. Marriage was a landmark decision offering an institution Mr. Jackson never
John Wimmer
Nov 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
We recieved the book, "Gay Like Me", from a Goodreads giveaway, and it was a pleasure to read. With all of the sensitive issues in the Gay lifestyles of today, this book tells it like it is. The author was proud to be a man about revealing his right to be a Gay, and explores many of the fascinating aspects of his unique lifestyle. He also explains how the changing culture in America affected his many tough decisions as a Gay man. Great biographical account of a complex human being, very moving. ...more
Ash Baker
Mar 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I did not expect to be so moved by this book. I was instantly engrossed by the authors voice, read about a third until I started to fall asleep, and then finished the book when I woke up at 6am.

Not everyone will share the perspectives that the author holds, but I think this book has the potential to connect with many people from many walks of life. Id recommend this book to just about anyone, from those of us within the community to straight/cis folks who dont even personally know a gay person.
Mar 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This has the potential to be the best thing I read this year. Also, I would like to take this tiny book in my tiny fists and beat some of my clueless straight friends with it. The author may be okay with that?

So this book was a snapshot of the gay education I never got. Suddenly becoming gay at the age of 36 (transitioned - FTM) left me without a cultural framework and the socialization of someone raised by wolves essentially. This book contains all the knowledge I missed out on, albeit in short
Jan 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
I found Gay Like Me both an interesting and informative read. In it, a gay father passes along his lessons learned to his gay son heading off to college. He tells of his life as a gay boy, growing to adulthood in times when being homosexual was dangerous, and far less accepted than it is today.

The author rejoices in who he is, and despite the difficulties, embraces being gay as the best thing about himself. He hopes that his son learns to be proud and open about who he is as well, so that LGBT
Feb 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
TV and Broadway producer Richie Jackson's memoir, GAY LIKE ME, is presented as a letter to his gay teenage son, but all young LGBTQ people will find it inspiring, uplifting and essential reading. "I have always felt lucky to be gay," writes Jackson. "Everything good that has happened to me is because I am gay." In reviewing his life, Jackson also shares gay history and offers context to his coming out at 18 in 1984, compared to his son's coming out three decades later. "I am scared for your ...more
Feb 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Disclaimers: I am not Jewish. I am not male. I am not gay. I know almost nothing about the theater. So, I have no personal life experience that qualifies me to review this book. I picked up Gay Like Me because I wanted to gain insight on a life I will never experience by reading an authentic voice telling his own story - not someone telling someone else's story or a third party making up a interesting-sounding story based on standardized beliefs (No, I am not taking any swipes at any other ...more
Brett Benner
Feb 15, 2020 rated it really liked it

I found alot to identify with in writer/producer Jacksons heartfelt entreaty to his son. Being the same age I remember what it felt like coming of age when he did, before hookup apps, before the Internet, before pronouns, and gender neutral bathrooms, and certainly before gay parents. (Unless they were previously in heterosexual relationships and were now divorced and living their authentic lives). I remember the journey to fatherhood, the NICU six weeks early than was intended, my son no bigger
Chris Neuhaus
Feb 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is the book I needed when I was coming out of the closet. The honest, poignant, and heartfelt words of @richiejacksongaydad hit me with such profundity, it made my heart sing. This book will continue to open minds and hearts to our allies, but it also serves as a important reminder for us all to always remember the events and history that have helped the LGBTQ+ community to evolve, prosper, and persevere. Solid 4 ⭐.
Being gay is not a lifestyle; it is life. My gayness is the most
Alyssa Spirit
Feb 08, 2020 rated it it was ok
I borrowed this book from my job, as I currently work in a book store. And Im glad I didnt spend my own money on it. I think the idea and the writing were good, but I feel like the book gives off the wrong vibe to people outside of the LGBTQ community. As a queer person myself, Im happy being gay and I love the community, but i can recognize that some quotes in this book are just a bit inappropriate. The author says several times, I wanted you to be gay and being gay is a gift, although being ...more
Lewis Elliott
Feb 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Its a lovely read and in queer literature, this is a great piece to add to your library and pallet. There is a lot to say about this book. Both favorable and not, but what I find most important is that I found my self wanting to dive into why I did and didnt disagree. For me, makes this a strong read. I knew the author wasnt speaking to me, yet I always felt within the conversation. A great perspective on being gay. The author has an honesty that is at times made me want to distance myself, but ...more
Keith Mankin
Feb 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book will stay with me long after my initial read.
Coming out was a long a difficult process for me, though I didn't grow up in a particularly notable situation. Now, two years after saying my truth, I'm a senior in high school and heading off to college this summer.
Gay Like Me's extended letter full of advice will guide me through my young adult life for years to come. This book touches on everything: where we're at, where we're going, sexual liberation, safety, gay history, and gay art -
Mar 06, 2020 rated it liked it
2.5 stars A gay dads letter to his gay son as he goes off to college is heartfelt and passionate. Unfortunately, it drips with privilege (Manhattans creme de la creme - yes, they were BFFs with the Trumps) which makes it hard to relate to. This exercise in parenting would have made more sense as a series of New Yorker magazine essays, but I guess it was long enough to make a book out of it. The best part of the book (last 1/3) addresses the historical side of the LGBTQ evolution/revolution post ...more
Oct 26, 2019 rated it it was ok
I requested this book because when I read it was "a poignant and urgent love letter" I really thought it would make me feel something. It didn't.

Sadly, you have to be a person from the US in order to understand a lot of the things the author was talking about, and when he actually gave some context about the situations, I was already bored and didn't feel like reading tons of dates and names mixed up in two paragraphs that I was going to forget the next minute.

The thing that bothered me the
Josh Puetz
Men: started out with some interesting letters, but quickly changed tone from advice to his son to whining about young gays today. All the usual rants from gay men that are veterans of social action in the 80s are here: everyone is too quick to forget about AIDS, apps are killed cruising culture, etc. The level of name dropping is pretty obnoxious as well: Id never heard of the author before, but he makes it clear he is a very affluent entertainment industry insider. ...more
Linda Anderson
Feb 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing claim your pride on your own terms
A very well written book...I think we should all remember that all anyone wants is to be loved on their own terms, in their own way and not get bogged down with whom or how.
Ruth Sweet
Feb 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
With this memoir, Ritchie Jackson provides a wonderful gift to his son. The last chapters of the book remind the reader of the work that remains before us. I listened to this book on Audible; it is beautifully narrated.
Colton Collins
Feb 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A love letter, a guidebook, a rallying cry. Bawled like a baby and felt seen.
Csimplot Simplot
Sep 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book!!!
Bookishnymph *needs hea*
Feb 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbtq
3.5 star round up.
Taylor Kundel-Gower
Feb 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Required reading for anyone who feels like I (or other LGBT people) are too loud/dramatic about being gay.
John Amory
Dec 05, 2019 rated it liked it
This was occasionally very thoughtful and eloquent, but it was also slight and sometimes awkward due to the very personal framing device of this being a long letter from father to son.
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