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My Two Moms: Lessons of Love, Strength, and What Makes a Family

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Overview

A resounding testament to individuality and the power of family in all forms from the young man who “lit up the Internet” (Ellen DeGeneres)

On January 31, 2011, Zach Wahls addressed the Iowa House Judiciary Committee in a public forum regarding full marriage equality. The nineteen-year-old son of a same-sex couple, Wahls proudly proclaimed, “The sexual orientation of my parents has had zero effect on the content of my character.” Hours later, his speech was posted on ...

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My Two Moms: Lessons of Love, Strength, and What Makes a Family

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Overview

A resounding testament to individuality and the power of family in all forms from the young man who “lit up the Internet” (Ellen DeGeneres)

On January 31, 2011, Zach Wahls addressed the Iowa House Judiciary Committee in a public forum regarding full marriage equality. The nineteen-year-old son of a same-sex couple, Wahls proudly proclaimed, “The sexual orientation of my parents has had zero effect on the content of my character.” Hours later, his speech was posted on YouTube, where it went viral, quickly receiving more than two million views. By the end of the week, everyone knew his name and wanted to hear more from the boy with two moms.

Same-sex marriage will be a major—possibly the defining—issue in this year’s election cycle, and Wahls speaks to that, but also to a broader issue.  Sure, he’s handsome and athletic, an environmental engineering student, and an Eagle Scout. Yet, growing up with two moms, he knows what it’s like to feel different and to fear being made fun of or worse. In the inspirational spirit of It Gets Better edited by Dan Savage and Terry Miller, My Two Moms also delivers a reassuring message to same-sex couples, their kids, and anyone who’s ever felt like an outsider: “You are not alone.”

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In 2011, Wahls, a 19-year-old Eagle Scout and engineering student, stood before the Iowa House Judiciary Committee on civil unions and declared that "the sexual orientation of my parents has had zero effect on the content of my character." Here, Wahls follows up on what would become a viral video of his testimony with this memoir and written defense of his moms. Wahls considers a different value in each chapter (following those espoused by the Boy Scout motto, law, oath, and slogan), including obedience, kindness, reverence, helpfulness, loyalty, thriftiness, and bravery, and tells what he has learned through situations he's encountered with family and friends regarding his nontraditional family. "I'm not gay, but I know how it feels to be in the closet," he writes of his sometimes veiled responses when asked as a child about his father. Wahls reflects on bullies and bullying, family values, Unitarian-Universalism (of which he is an adherent), the impact of chronic disease on the family (one of his moms has MS), and the reality of a marriage between women. Wahls has a fresh voice, and while still relatively young, his evenhandedness and willingness to use his own experiences to address larger social issues is admirable and will likely appeal to all walks of life.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
From the Publisher
"Here he expands on his life story, speaking to all those who feel like outsiders. A needed book, and Wahls is a known quantity." —-Library Journal
Library Journal
In January 2011, charming Eagle Scout and engineering student Wahls told the Iowa House of Representatives that the sexual orientation of his two moms had "zero effect" on the content of his character. His speech soon went viral. Here he expands on his life story, speaking to all those who feel like outsiders. Needed, and Wahls is a known quantity.
Kirkus Reviews
With the assistance of Littlefield (co-author: The Truth Advantage: The 7 Keys to a Happy and Fulfilling Life, 2011, etc.), Wahls writes about growing up as the son of gay parents in the heartland. In January 2011, the author, then a student at the University of Iowa, testified before the Iowa House Judiciary Committee as they considered a state constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. In a short speech, Wahls talked about being raised by two lesbians and how his childhood was no different than those of children raised by heterosexual couples. The speech was aimed at dismantling the myth that kids are damaged by having gay parents, and it was effective: The YouTube video of the speech was viewed more than 18 million times, and Wahls appeared on national TV talk shows, including The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Here the author expands on his speech, discussing the values that his parents helped to instill in him, naming chapters after aspects of the Boy Scout law: "Trustworthy," "Courteous," "Reverent." (Wahls takes pride in his scouting experience, repeatedly mentioning that he is an Eagle Scout, but he disagrees with the Boy Scouts of America's official policy banning gays from leadership positions.) Some of the author's stories are quite moving--particularly those addressing his mother Terry's multiple sclerosis--but many of Wahls' epiphanies are unsurprising: "We are more alike than we are different"; "hate has no hope of ever erasing hate"; etc. The book works best when there's more levity amidst the earnestness, as when the author humorously answers questions he's asked most frequently (e.g., "Which one of your moms is the man?"). Few minds will be changed by this book--it seems unlikely that a homophobe would read something titled My Two Moms--but Wahls' heart is in the right place. A sincere first effort that aims to chip away at stereotypes surrounding same-sex parents.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781592407637
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 4/2/2013
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 487,210
  • Product dimensions: 7.90 (w) x 5.30 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Zach Wahls

Zach Wahls is a twenty-year-old engineering student at the University of Iowa. He lives in Iowa City, Iowa.

Bruce Littlefield is a bestselling author and journalist whose work has appeared in The New York Times, People, and the Chicago Tribune, among other publications. He lives in New York City.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 22 )
Rating Distribution

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(14)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 22 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 24, 2012

    Amazing young man. Glad he's brave enough to tell his story, so

    Amazing young man. Glad he's brave enough to tell his story, so that it might help others.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 27, 2012

    This book is much needed. It helps us understand that all famil

    This book is much needed. It helps us understand that all families--even if they don't look like yours--want for their children happiness. Well written. Bravo, young man!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 27, 2012

    Truly inspirational

    I love this book. Zach's famous speech was powerful and intelligent, and the book is too with an intimate look into his life, the values his moms taught him, and his ideas about equality. He is frank and inspirational, and delivers a strong rebuttal to every argument the opposition usually delivers. Congrats Zach! You are indeed an amazing person!!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2012

    Thank you Zach for sharing your wisdom and experience at such a

    Thank you Zach for sharing your wisdom and experience at such a young age. A line from your speech sticks in my mind in which you told the Chairman of the Iowa House committee looking to overturn marriage equality: "If I were your son, Mr. Chairman, I believe I'd make you very proud." Yes, Zach, if you were my son, you'd make me VERY proud. YOUR two moms I'm sure must be wonderful people and... very proud. Congratulations!

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 14, 2014

    It Changed My View!

    I can see why this young man was a champion high school debater because he truly is persuasive! Before reading this book, I thought I was "against" or at least not "for" same sex marriage and now I find myself having no issue with it all. He truly defines the meaning of family in this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2012

    Phrase

    Awesome a kid in my class has his phrase in this book lol

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2012

    Michael

    Y not? Did she have to go so she sent u as a substitute?

    0 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2012

    "Sure, he’s handsome and athletic, an environmental e

    "Sure, he’s handsome and athletic, an environmental engineering student, and an Eagle Scout. " Seriously? This describes the book? The guy already has an ego, stop making it bigger.

    0 out of 23 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted May 15, 2012

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