This novel explores faith, gay issues and standing up for what’s right.
Tammy is the wife of Ed Sloan, a prominent figure in the Texas political scene who is struggling over the fallout of the bullying of gay student Jamie O’Dell, which involved the Sloans’ son, Michael. The issue sends shockwaves through the lives of Ed and his colleagues, friends and family, especially Tammy, who begins to consider gay rights from a new angle. Farrar follows Tammy’s journey as the once-dutiful wife and mother opens her heart to Jamie’s mother, Marcie; from there, she visits a PFLAG meeting, volunteers with the Trevor Project helping at-risk gay youth, and begins to stand up against her husband’s anti-gay views, both at home and in public. While the book admirably shows the far-reaching effects of homophobia, the characters sometimes feel like mouthpieces for Farrar’s well-intentioned political and religious agendas. Dialogue is sometimes stilted, and the characters can feel slightly one note; for instance, Farrar writes of Michael: “It was all about building social capital in high school. Like so many other teens, he had gone along with peer pressure to maintain his popularity.” But despite the occasionally stiff writing, the book commendably brings gay issues home and depicts the mental and emotional work people must do to change their views. The story is rooted in faith from a range of perspectives, showing how Christian faith can both harden and open peoples’ hearts—a refreshing take on the hot topic. Endnotes throughout the text and a list of LGBT resources shine a light on the book for the educational project it ultimately is. But Farrar’s open-hearted willingness to be gentle to her characters is sure to make the book appealing to a broad audience, especially to people of faith struggling to understand the intersection between LGBT issues and their beliefs.
Emotional, open-minded and vital.