GrUpIn this disturbing, heartbreaking, and inspiring memoir, Schmidt provides an account of an unstable childhood and adolescence The prologue begins with Schmidt at age , coming home to discover his father crawling around the floor, covered in blood The author then pulls back, describing his early years After Schmidt s parents separated, his father, Mark, took custody of him The two moved from one decrepit home to the next in Seattle, as Mark abused and sold drugs, barely earning a living Schmidt s voice will resonate with teens as he writes candidly about his father s negligence and abuse, adeptly capturing what it was like to grow up impoverished, the hostility he encountered at school, the injuries and illnesses he endured, his difficulty finding and keeping friends, and the challenges of adjusting to his gay father s unstable romantic and sexual life As Schmidt grew older, he believedandthat he and Mark could never become straights, or normal people When the author reached adolescence, during the early s, Mark and many of his friends were diagnosed with AIDS It was a period when many gay men were dying, when those with HIV faced stigma, and when the effectiveness of medical treatment was minimal Once realizing his father s fate, Schmidt feared what the future had in store but was inspired to take control of his life VERDICT This unflinchingly honest work is a strong choice for readers who appreciate unfiltered stories, can stomach gruesome details, or aspire to work in social servicesJess Gafkowitz, New York Public LibrarySchmidt s memoir is heartbreaking and touches the soulSchmidt s brilliant prose will fascinate and appall teens and adults who read memoirs VOYAA man whose emotionally unstable father moved him from home to home throughout the s and s before dying of AIDS tells his storyTeens and adults who favor memoirs will be fascinated and deeply moved Kirkus ReviewsSchmidts memoirwhich spans his childhood to late adolescence and chronicles his abuse and near homelessness at the hands of his drug addicted gay fatheris an emotionally demanding read Publishers WeeklyThis title joins the ranks of harrowing true stories like Dave Pelzer s A Child Called It and Augusten Burrough s Running with Scissors , compelling accounts of childhood despair that are painful to read and impossible to put down BooklistDisturbing, heartbreaking, and inspiringThis unflinchingly honest work is a strong choice for readers who appreciate unfiltered stories School Library Journal

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