The New York Times on Openly Straight: “It’s beautiful. It’s a story of salvation.”

One thing a lot of people don’t know about me is that I used to plan my birthday parties. When I was like six and seven. Not just, “Let’s go to the zoo or a baseball game.” More like, who will come, what they will do, how everyone will feel, what will happen.

Call it a deep-seated need to control. Call it what you want. I so wanted to be able to engineer and predict the future.

This has been a hard lesson, taught to me repeatedly over the course of a lifetime. I can put stuff out there, but I have no control over what happens after that. This is particularly true as an author. It’s a tough market out there. There are so many books, and it’s hard to get folks to pay attention to yours in a world where there are so many other types of media clamoring for people’s time and money.

So I’ve gotten used to realizing that I cannot always get what I want as an author. And I’ve been fine with it.

And then, sometimes things happen that go beyond what you’d have hoped in your best fantasy. Take, for instance, this beautiful review of Openly Straight by Jeff Chu in this weekend’s New York Times Book Review section:

“Being openly gay may not be a curse, but it’s exhausting, Rafe writes in his journal. ‘Always wondering what people are seeing, and feeling separated from so much of the world, that’s hard.’ For many of us, that’s also life, whether you’re gay or straight. Konigsberg’s lovely novel invites us to walk with Rafe through his season of assumed identity and his costly emergence into honesty. It’s beautiful. It’s a story of salvation.”

I am beyond elated by this review. To have something I’ve written receive this sort of close scrutiny and coverage, and to have it praised in such a way, feels wonderful. To have it written by an author whom I admire (I’ve just finished Mr. Chu’s book, Does Jesus Really Love Me? A Gay Christian’s Pilgrimage in Search of God in America, and I thought it was spectacular), is just icing on the cake.

I hope you’ll take the time to read the review, and I hope you’ll take the opportunity to give Openly Straight a read, too!

Also, please read Aaron Hartzler’s Rapture Practice, the other book reviewed in this article. A big-time congratulations to Aaron for being reviewed in the Times! To me, his book was a revelation, pun vaguely intended. It made me laugh and it made me cry, and it demands to be read. Read it!