Roberto Jimenez’s memoir traces his journey to gain self-confidence and acceptance as a gay man.
Jimenez, a 48-year-old psychotherapist, was born in the Dominican Republic and grew up Catholic. His family led a comfortable life, but he didn’t fit in easily. “I was often punished at school for acting ‘too feminine,’” he writes. By eighth grade, he began to realize “that I liked boys.”
When he was 13, his parents announced they were divorcing. His mother would move to America; his father would stay in the Dominican Republic. He made the difficult decision to go with his mother. They settled in New York with his younger brother, where Jimenez attended a diverse school focused on the arts and humanities. He later graduated from Florida’s St. Thomas University and eventually earned a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy and later a doctorate.
He also eventually found acceptance as a gay man. Of his first visit to a gay club, he writes: “For the first time in my life, I didn’t feel like I was alone. It felt amazing.” In fact, he met his lifelong partner Ariel that night, and they have been happy together ever since.
Jimenez writes about his father’s death, his beloved older brother’s death from a drug overdose, his frustration with Ariel’s reluctance to come out to his family; his diagnosis of IGG deficiency auto-immune disorder and IBS. Unfortunately, he only skims the surface of such issues, so readers never understand the depth of his struggles. The memoir reads more like an outline than a fully fleshed out story. He’s relentlessly upbeat: “Life is often hard,” Jimenez writes, “but you can choose what you say to yourself and how you face the challenges you are dealt” —an excellent life motto, but a dubious formula for an interesting memoir.
Gay readers might relate to the author’s story. But most will wish for greater detail, even as they appreciate the author’s earnestness in telling his truth.
Also available in paperback and ebook.