Thursday, July 19, 2012

My Two Moms: Lessons of Love, Strength, and What Makes a Family, by Zach Wahls and Bruce Littlefield (audiobook narrated by Kris Koscheski)

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Zach Wahls skyrocketed to fame in 2011 when, at the age of 19, he testified before the Iowa House Judiciary Committee regarding a proposed constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. He stood up in defence of his family, of his two lesbian moms, and of himself as a child of gay parents who turned out just fine after all. "If I was your son, Mr. Chairman," he said. "I believe I'd make you very proud." His testimony was uploaded to YouTube and went viral almost instantly.

My Two Moms is about Zach Wahls' family. It's about what led up to his testimony in Iowa. But mostly it's about Zach Wahls, a twenty-year-old who has had, for the most part, an incredibly easy life. Yes, he's had some instances of embarrassment over having gay parents (my mom's not gay and I spent half my childhood being embarrassed by her for one reason or another--that's what kids do) and he's experienced the incredible pain of seeing one of his parents battle a serious illness (his mom Terri has MS, which is definitely painful for the whole family, but this kind of hardship is certainly not exclusive to gay parents). In fact, if you were to describe Zach Wahls based on the characteristics that are most important to who he is, you'd probably say he's a twenty-year-old student, an Eagle Scout (he mentions that on nearly every page of the book), a giant nerd (he comes by it honestly--his parents walked down the aisle to the theme from Star Trek Voyager), a child of loving parents, a debate champion, a minor internet celebrity and budding entrepreneur, and oh yeah, his moms are gay.

Hit the jump to see Zach Wahls' testimony before the Iowa House Judiciary Committee...

The result of writing an autobiography when you're twenty years old and have had such perfectly pleasant life so far is that you quickly run out of things to say. Wahls often waxes poetic on the great questions of life--love, dating, politics, religion, human nature--and the result is about what you would expect from somebody who was still a teenager a month or so ago. It's optimistic and overly confident, the writing of someone certain he has it all figured out because he's, well, twenty frigging years old. At other times he tries to fill out the book with tales of childhood trauma. There's nearly an entire chapter devoted to a bad dream he used to have about a velociraptor. It's a pretty charmed life you've led if when pressed for tales of woe you start with, "There was this bad dream I used to have..."

But I guess that's sort of the point. Zach Wahls hasn't had a hard life. He hasn't even had a particularly interesting life (sorry Zach, I don't mean you're boring, nor is your book boring). He's just really, really normal. He's a straight guy raised by two gay moms and he's absolutely normal. He's definitely better adjusted than I was at twenty (or thirty). The fact that he was raised by loving parents has everything to do with who he is. The fact that those parents are two lesbians seems a LOT more important to everyone else than it is to him.

Disclaimer: I received a digital galley of this book free from Edelweiss (Above the Tree Line). I was asked to write an honest review, though not necessarily a favourable one. The opinions expressed are strictly my own.

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