I never really knew what was in Richard Cohen’s children’s book, Alfie’s Home.
But DormItem has pictures. From the graphics and language, it’s clearly aimed at small children – but the subject matter is not. It is totally cringe-worthy.
(hat tip to commenter Aaron at XGW)
I cannot begin to fathom reading that book to my 8 year old. Cohen has some issues!
Oh my God, that is truly disturbing. It was bad by page 3, it was worse by 5, it was horrifying by 7.
I did appreciate a librarian’s review found at Amazon, though…
Everything about this book screams fake. The illustrations are flat and garish… the saccharine tone of the writing gives further challenge to credibility. If readers were able to ignore the presentation, there is still the message of the text to choke them… Now if everything is pulled together, there is still a problem-the format of a picture book with large print makes this look like a book for preschoolers, but the writing attempt is aimed more at preteens who would scorn such a presentation–and rightly so.
Even ignoring the terrible bigotry that inspired that warped storyline, Cohen is just incompetent at writing a book.
The book promotes one of the theories of reparative therapists: That lack of father love, homoemotionally wound boys so they become targets of male pedophiles, that prey on these boys vulnerabilities. It pushes the idea that same sex attractions can be overcome by healing the homoemotional wounds.
As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) I do recognize this pattern from myself and other male survivors of CSA. (that lack of father love make boys vulnerable to being targeted by pedophiles).
The main message of the book is that boys who think they are gay … only misses their fathers love! And will not turn gay if they get loved by their fathers.
They are so nice these simple theories!
I know many gay guys who had very loving fathers. I also know many guys who had absent fathers who did not suffer CSA or
became gay because of that.
I remember Melissa Fryrears comment on the LWO conference that she had never met a lesbian or a gay man who did not experience sexual abuse! Well the majority of gays and lesbians I know have not been sexually abused.
The problem is that CSA often causes sexual identity problems. But to conclude that those who have sexual identity problems because of CSA are not gay, but just needs their fathers love is far fetched. Some survivors of CSA are gay and lesbians. The majority are not.
It is important to have books for children that address the problem of CSA. This book is worthless and do not address the real hurt Alfie suffered; being sexually abused. The author pathologies Alfie thinking he is gay, more than the consequences of CSA. Children who suffered CSA does not need reparative therapy, but therapy to overcome the emotional wounds CSA causes. This book would be a huge insult to a gay boy who had been sexually abused.
Snark Attack Warning
Richard Cohen, on his website, quotes the testimonials of two “Amazon readers” who say lovely things about this book.
Amusingly, both “readers” wrote their reviews on November 2, 1998. What a lucky coincidence. And even more unusual was that one “reader” knew that it was writen by someone who has “been there” and the other was “someone who has experience that healing myself”.
I’ll say one thing for Cohen, he certainly knows the art of self promotion.
I attended a talk given by Cohen back in the early 1990s. He gave a long list of reasons people turned gay. By the time he was done, every single person in that auditorium could identify with one or more (your father was distant, your father was too close, etc, etc). I burst out laughing and everyone else joined in, poor Cohen was humiliated.
homer… i think i love you.
Such a children’s book is the perfect place to espouse the Nicolosian ideas of father-love hunger!
I can’t fathom how anyone thought this was an appropriate book to make. Nor do I have any kind words for the creators.
Since I can’t tell them what an utter piece of crap their book is, I did the next best thing: I rewrote it to be about accepting yourself and becoming a hero.
I was put off by the preachy tone and oversimplification of complex issues. I was creeped out by the picture of the boy being molested (page 7). I was disappointed in the not-so-subtle implication that the child not “manning up” and telling his parents about abuse is what made him (effeminate, cowardly) and gay. The same goes for portraying his peers’ nastiness as acceptable and implying they were right to target the boy.
Hannah, I love your rewrite!
Hannah… I think I love you. :-D
EVERYBODY should make their own version!!
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