Saturday, June 8, 2013

Letters From The Closet - A Review

If you've never heard of Amy Hollingsworth I really encourage you to check her out. She's funny, smart, and open-minded.  Just the kind of person you're glad to know. Oh, and she's a pretty darn good Author too.

Amy and I used to go to Church together, her daughter was actually Liza's Missionettes teacher at one time. Neither of us go to that particular church anymore but we've stayed connected through Facebook - good ole Facebook. How did we stay connected before we had it? Oh yeah, I guess we called people and wrote letters. I've never been any good at writing letters. I had two Japanese pen-pals at one time and I think I just stopped writing to them at one point and never started again (Ladies, if you're seeing this - it was me, NOT you! Seriously....) Thankfully, for the whole World, Amy did not have that problem. She kept up a 10 year correspondence with her High School English teacher, John, and recently released a book that she wrote based on those letters. It's called Letters From the Closet and I just finished reading it the other night. I got a little teary at the end, I'll admit. I said I wasn't going to, but I did.

I started the book not really sure what to expect. I knew it was being called the story of  a relationship between "a gay English teacher and his young female student" but it turned out to be so much more than just that. It's really the story of two people living tucked inside their own "closets" only able to be real with each other, and sometimes not even each other. I've recently been learning to be completely honest with myself and not to color things the way that I want them to be, so that aspect of John and Amy's story really stuck out to me.

I'm gonna be honest and admit that when I first started reading the book I wasn't a fan of John. To me he seemed a little mean, and I felt like he was taking advantage of Amy's age and admiration of him for his own benefit. I surprised myself, though, because the closer we got to the end of Amy's and John's story the more I found myself wanting to know more about him. I even began to sympathize with him and for him. I kinda wish I could've known John myself, now that I've read a little of his story through his letters to Amy, but I think that was part of the point in sharing their letters.

Though this book is a story of the relationship between a gay English teacher and his female student, and it's been accepted by the LGBTQ community (not surprisingly, but sadly, not accepted by the Church) it's so much more than that. It's a story of the desire to be important to someone, don't we all wish for that? It's a story of learning to remove the masks and to be real with the people closest to you, including yourself. I know I struggle with that daily! Mostly, and most importantly, it's a story of how we all have our own closets, and it may even challenge you to look inside yours and decide if you're ready to come out or let some of your secrets out.
Amy said this was a perfect metaphor for her's and John's relationship.
I think it's exactly what I took away from their story.
Or, maybe those are just all my own interpretation. I'm curious to see what yours may be. So, read the book and get back to me. Let me know what you thought of it and if you think the way I see it was even close.

*Disclaimer - the Amazon link above is linked to an Amazon Associates account that belongs to the blog Author - Melissa. However, I wrote this review because I really did read and enjoy the book. Not just because I consider Amy a friend :) *

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