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Three years ago, John Schwartz, a national correspondent at The New York Times, got the call that every parent hopes never to receive: his thirteen-year-old son, Joe, was in the hospital following a failed suicide attempt. After mustering the courage to come out to his classmates, Joes disclosure delivered in a tirade about homophobic attitudeswas greeted with dismay and confusion by his fellow students. Hours later, he took an overdose of pills. Additionally, John and his wife, Jeanne, found that their sons school was unable to address Joes special needs. Angry and frustrated, they initiated their own search for services and groups that could help Joe understand that he wasnt alone. Oddly Normal is Schwartzs very personal attempt to address his familys own struggles within a culture that is changing fast, but not fast enough to help gay kids like Joe. <br> Schwartz follows Joseph through childhood to the present day, interweaving his narrative with common questions, including: Are effeminate boys and tomboy girls necessarily gay? Is there a relationship between being gay and suicide or mental illness? Should a child be pushed into coming out? Parents, teachers, and counselors alike will welcome Oddly Normal and its crucial lessons about helping gay kids and any kid who is different -- learn how to cope in a potentially hostile world.