Quick Book Review: “Out of the Shadows: Reimagining Gay Men’s Lives” by Walt Odets

"Out of the Shadows: Reimagining Gay Men’s Lives" by Walt Odets

A very dense, but enlightening book that discusses the difficulties gay men have faced, and still face, trying to live their lives productively and authentically in the face of intense trauma and discrimination. He focuses on the stigmatization that gay men experience early in life, and the shame, self-doubt, and isolation that results from being seen as different from the rest of society.  The author is a clinical psychologist, and he references his actual patients, in detailed case reports, to illustrate many of his points.  Many of these patient stories are moving and emotional and make for intense reading, and I doubt there are many gay men in America today who don’t see themselves in more than a few of these accounts.

He also delves very deeply into the trauma that the HIV epidemic has brought to gay men and how it is a constant undercurrent in our lives.  The book is a remarkably accurate job of describing the lives of gay men in current day America.

This is a very important book for gay men, and I encourage all gay men to buy it and read it.  A well-written, informative, empathetic, and (thankfully) hopeful jolt of reality.

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