(pb; 1999: non-fiction)
From the inside flap:
“From Dan Savage, the writer whose sex-advice column, ‘Savage Love,’ enrages and excites four million people every week, comes the compelling and unexpected story of his journey to parenthood.
“Dan and his boyfriend, Terry, want a baby. So they do what millions of other couples do: They decide to adopt.
“Their odyssey begins at a two-day seminar in Portland, with six other couples – all straight – who can’t conceive, either. After rejecting the idea of making a ‘bio-kid’ with a lesbian couple, a lesbian single, and even their straight next-door neighbor, an and Terry decide on an ‘open adoption,’ in which the birth mother selects the adoptive parents for her child. Their gay friends think they’re sellouts. The far right think they’re sinners. And the odds of a mother selecting a gay couple for her baby (most seem to be looking for ‘Christian homes’) must be a million to one.
“When Dan and Terry are selected by the birth mother, they announce, ‘We’re pregnant!’ But there are issues: the Mother – a street kid – drank and used drugs during the pregnancy, so there’s the risk of fetal alcohol syndrome, and despite the doctor’s order to get bed rest, she’s still living on the streets. As an and Terry tag along on her prenatal visits and the due date rapidly approaches, the fears common to expectant parents mount: What if the baby isn’t healthy? What if we aren’t parent material? And what if birth mother changes her mind and decides to keep the baby? Meanwhile, giddy, prospective grandmothers are violating an and Terry’s ‘no gifts before birth’ decree by buying things they just couldn’t resist, like two I Love Daddy bibs from Dan’s mother.
“In The Kid, Dan Savage shares his views on what it means to be gay and raising a child in America today. In the process, he takes his usual scathingly funny, on-target potshots at everything from growing up gay to committing to a younger man, from the gay left to the religious right, homophobia... love... getting fat... getting married... getting old... and the very human desire to have a family.”
Savage, consistent with his alternate-newspaper column “Savage Love,” is journal-honest about the personal situations that him and his boyfriend, Terry, encounter when they decide to adopt their infant son, Daryl-Jude Pierce.
There’s lots of humor, of course, but there’s also Savage’s blunt takes on reparative therapy (“‘... the vast majority of us have no interest in becoming ‘ex-gay’”) and other agendas of Fundamentalists Xians, the dynamics of romantic/sexual/familial relationships (gay and straight), the legal hurtles and emotions prospective adoptive parents experience, and the possible futures our children face.
Those familiar with Savage’s column may have to remind themselves that Savage’s column/word-count restraints aren’t enforced here, so Savage's writing is relatively expansive. That is to say, it’s no less personal and affecting than his column.
This is a literate and discussion-provoking book, worth your time.