Let no one ever accuse me of being trendy. I rarely read new books as they come out, though this is becoming more and more common the longer I work at a public library. I’m much more likely to read something that is years (and occasionally decade out of date). Like this book that I just finished: The Kid: What Happened After My Boyfriend and I Decided to Go Get Pregnant by Dan Savage, originally published in 1999.
The book tells the story of Dan and his partner Terry adopting their son through an open adoption process. The book primarily serves as a linear memoir about the open adoption process in Oregon in the late 1990’s. However, there are several asides while Savage discusses politics, religion, Icelandic music, and bleeding copiously from the anus in his typically acerbic fashion.
For anyone who knows me, they know that while I love children, I love them most of all when they belong to other people and they can be taken away from me when I get tired of them. But, Savage’s combination of cutting humor and realistic reasoning makes the whole process of child-getting and child-rearing…if not less daunting, then certainly more achievable. It’s something that we mere mortal gay men with typical problems might be able to achieve. Not that there aren’t bumps along the way (your birth mom may be a street punk and you may have a Fetal Alcohol Syndrome scare, for example).
I think that this book is still relevant. Some of the current event type information has changed in the years since it came out (gay adoption is now legal in Florida but illegal in eight new states plus G. W. Bush went from governor to president), but I don’t think the emotions behind the book and what it means to be gay and starting a family in the 21st century have changed that much. You still are going to have to hear dumb but well-meaning questions and you’re still going to have to explain ad nauseam that your child has two fathers or mothers. This book makes it a little easier by showing that not every person who goes into fatherhood has a halo, and that that’s okay.
JMF Rating: 7/10