Wandering Close to Home
Linda Drajem, Christopher Drajem
Independently Published (2020)
Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Reader Views (01/2022)
“Wandering Close to Home: A Gay Son and His Feminist Mother’s Journey to Transform Themselves and Their Family,” by Linda Drajem and Christopher Drajem, is a compelling memoir from a mother and son about their emotional, personal journey of coming to terms with what it means to be gay.
Linda was from a Catholic family who wanted the traditional role as a stay-at-home mother, but soon realized it wasn’t for her, even though she married her high school sweetheart and had a baby boy in 1968. Her son Christopher went to Catholic schools and was an altar boy, but he had a secret: He was gay. You will cry and smile as you read about Linda and Christopher’s path toward happiness, understanding, and acceptance at a time when it wasn’t so easy to admit you were gay, or were the parent of a gay person. There are themes here that most parents can relate to, and you have to admire Linda’s bravery in telling her story. Everyone wants to belong and feel that they always have a home to go to in time of need. This book gives you that feeling, but it doesn’t always come easy.
I really like how Linda portrays their relationship, and how Christopher’s struggle is described, in honesty, with the positive and the negative. Sometimes the truth can be the hardest thing to talk about, and this book is an example of how truth and fear can overcome fear and doubt.
Parents all over the world deal with challenges of different kinds. Maybe this is your kind of challenge. If it is, then this book can offer some insight on what to do or what to say, even if you don’t always agree with everything. Reading with an open mind, from a place of love, can go a long way in maintaining a good relationship between parents and children.
Besides the coming out story, you will get a story on how life progressed after that and is an interesting slice-of-life story that can educate as well as inspire. The whole family grew and changed, and this is explained in good detail. They serve as a resource for other families, even though they would be the first to tell you they aren’t perfect.
This book is doubly interesting because mother and son are both writers and have teaching in their blood. If you like honest, life-changing books about personal challenges and triumphs, you will love “Wandering Close to Home: A Gay Son and His Feminist Mother’s Journey to Transform Themselves and Their Family,” by Linda Drajem and Christopher Drajem.