Prayers for Bobby: A Mother's Coming to Terms with the Suicide of Her Gay Son

Prayers for Bobby: A Mother's Coming to Terms with the Suicide of Her Gay Son

4.4 40
by Leroy Aarons
     
 

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Bobby Griffith was an all-American boy ...and he was gay. Faced with an irresolvable conflict-for both his family and his religion taught him that being gay was "wrong"-Bobby chose to take his own life.

Prayers for Bobby, nominated for a 1996 Lambda Literary Award, is the story of the emotional journey that led Bobby to this tragic conclusion. But it is

Overview

Bobby Griffith was an all-American boy ...and he was gay. Faced with an irresolvable conflict-for both his family and his religion taught him that being gay was "wrong"-Bobby chose to take his own life.

Prayers for Bobby, nominated for a 1996 Lambda Literary Award, is the story of the emotional journey that led Bobby to this tragic conclusion. But it is also the story of Bobby's mother, a fearful churchgoer who first prayed that her son would be "healed," then anguished over his suicide, and ultimately transformed herself into a national crusader for gay and lesbian youth.

As told through Bobby's poignant journal entries and his mother's reminiscences, Prayers for Bobby is at once a moving personal story, a true profile in courage, and a call to arms to parents everywhere.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Mary Griffith prayed that her gay son Bobby would be "healed." After his suicide, her anguish led her on a journey from faithful churchgoer to national crusader for gay and lesbian youth. (LJ 5/15/95)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062511232
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
08/28/1996
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
610,324
Product dimensions:
5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.64(d)

Read an Excerpt

One

The Plunge

August 27, 1983
Portland, Oregon

Bobby Griffith left the Family Zoo lounge about midnight and walked northwest through downtown Portland, past office buildings and lofts that still bore the ornate imprint of another century. It was a warm but cloudy western night in late August 1983. Blond, green eyed, six feet tall, and muscular, he wore a light plaid shirt and green fatigue pants, and walked with a deliberate, loping gait. To a passerby he would have looked like any other young man on his way home after a night out.

He headed up a hill and onto a plateau through which sliced Interstate 405, the main north-south artery. From this vantage point one could see most of the city, aligned on either side of the Willamette River. Lights flickered in the foreground, yielding to patches of darkened residential neighborhoods where most of Portland slept. The steady roar of freeway traffic played counterpoint to the still night.

Bobby approached the Everett Street overpass. Once on the bridge he could see the 405 traffic rush by, then disappear beneath the concrete span. The fragrance of diesel and petroleum hung in the air.

What was he thinking? Perhaps he voiced the silent wish, often repeated in his Journals, to lift off, set sail to the heavens, forever drifting. Perhaps the familiar dark depression engulfed him, strangling hope.

"My life is over as far as I'm concerned," he wrote in his diary exactly one month before. "I hate living on this earth.... I think God must get a certain amount of self-satisfaction watching people deal with theobstacles he throws in their path.... I hate God for this and for my shitty existence."

He must have seen the large tractor trailer approaching from under the Couch Street overpass and timed the jump. Bobby executed a sudden and effortless back flip and disappeared over the railing. The driver tried to swerve, but there was no time.

Two witnesses later reported they at first thought it was a prank. They rushed to the railing expecting to see Bobby dangling. No. He had descended twenty-five feet directly into the path of the trailer, which tossed his body fourteen feet under the overpass.

The impact had ripped away most of his clothes and strewn them on the highway. Beneath his body paramedics found a two-dollar bill and seventy-seven cents in change.

The medical examiner said later that Robert Warren Griffith, age twenty years and two months, had died instantly of massive internal injuries.

Meet the Author

Leroy Aarons, an award-winning journalist and playwright, was a national correspondent for The Washington Post and executive editor of The Oakland Tribune. He is the founder and past president of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association.

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Prayers for Bobby: A Mother's Coming to Terms with the Suicide of Her Gay Son 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 40 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A touching and absolutely amazing book, i highly recommend it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this story i remminds people not to judge someone no matter what sex are race you should love them the way the are
micgloth More than 1 year ago
This is a sad story but it is really worth the read for any parent who is struggling with their child being gay or with a sibling then you need to read this book. The gay thing is not all this book is about it is about a mother realizing that the love for a child goes farther than the surface but to the heart, this story is ultimately about a mothers love and sadly regret.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is an amazing book, and well written. It is extremely sad-I know I cried reading it-but as a lesbian from a conservative southern baptist family, I could relate and take strength from it. I think it would also be a good book for parents who discover their child is gay, and have religious problems with it--if they'll read it, it will show them a lot.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Prayers for Bobby details the struggle that Mary Griffith and her son Bobby endured as they tried to come to terms with his sexuality. This story brings to light the devastating consequences that can result from a parent's inability or refusal to accept their loved one's sexual orientation.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think this book was so sad, but it was so good. It tells the story of a gay teenager who's family cant accept him because hes gay. And when they finally do accept him its too late.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Being a gay male, I picked this book up at Temecula Barnes & Noble, looking for something with a gay theme. It was by sheer luck that I chose this book. It was beyond amazing. I actually think I cried while reading this book. It shows how much society, and family has an affect on homosexual youth. I would reccomend this book to anybody. It is awesome.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I stumbled across this book at the Barnes & Noble in San Mateo, and couldn't believe that this was about a family that I knew and grew up with. I have recently come out and live with my girlfriend. The story was heart wrenching, and I can't wait to pass this book onto my parents (who are nonetheless struggling with my announcement of being a lesbian). It was wonderful to read about the coming to terms spiritually, as this was a big struggle for me as well. Excellent book, and really well written.
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Every family needs this.
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I haven't read it yet, but have friends who highly recommended the book to me!
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