Author: Jon Derek Croteau
First copyright date: 2014
Type of book: Masculine vs feminine gender roles, homosexuality, toxic relationships, anorexia in men, threat to masculinity, sports, obsessive compulsive with tradition
General subject matter: Basically, the author's father is what one would call a traditional male and is obsessed with sports like basketball, baseball and soccer, as well as his public image, and often forces his children to do them. However, the author is struggling with a horrible secret that is destined to shake his father's world up.
Special features: N/A
As a child, Jon tried desperately to be his father’s version of the all-American boy, denying his gayness in a futile attempt to earn the love and respect of an abusive man. With this he built a deep, internalized homophobia that made him want to disappear rather than live with the truth about himself. That denial played out in the forms of anorexia, bulimia, and obsessive running, which consumed him as an adolescent and young adult.
It wasn’t until a grueling yet transformative Outward Bound experience that Jon began to face his sexual identity. This exploration continued as he entered college and started the serious work of sorting through years of repressed anger to separate from his father’s control and condemnation.
My Thinning Years is an inspiring story of courage, creativity, and the will to live—and of recreating the definition of family to include friends, relatives, and teachers who support you in realizing your true self.
Jon Derek Croteau, Ed.D., is on a mission to make a difference and help those who are in need, disenfranchised, or impacted by discrimination. A senior partner at a leadership consultancy for higher education and healthcare clients across the globe, he is also deeply involved in several foundations and nonprofits, where he champions for equal rights and effective leadership. The author of three academic books on staff development and leadership as well as numerous articles for journals and periodicals, he is a highly sought-out speaker on the topics of eating disorder recovery, body image, and coming out. Jon legally married his partner, Justin Croteau, in 2007 and currently resides in Vermont.Author's purpose:
"I have written this, from my heart and my mind to yours, hoping it moves you to embrace a child you have abandoned, or encourages you to stop punishing yourself for just being who you are, or inspires you to open your heart to someone who is different from you." (xi)
a. Why did the author write on this subject rather than on some other subject?
Despite the great strides that LGBTQ community has made towards equality, admitting being a homosexual or anything outside the accepted "norm" is a very difficult thing to do, especially when you come from a traditional family where men weren't allowed to express themselves creatively. I also imagine that a lot of times homosexuality is seen as some sort of threat towards traditional ways of life.
b. From what point of view is the work written?
Its written in first person narrative from the author's point of view. Just like Jane Hersey's powerful memoirs, My Thinning Years follows in a very similar vein.
c. Was the author trying to give information, to explain something technical, to convince the reader of a belief’s validity by dramatizing it in action?
I think the author was trying to convince the reader of a belief's validity by dramatizing it in action, in other words pathos (emotional) approach was used because the story is from a boy's point of view and it didn't seem to be balanced, at least in my opinion.
d. What is the general field or genre, and how does the book fit into it? (Use outside sources to familiarize yourself with the field, if necessary.) Knowledge of the genre means understanding the art form. and how it functions.
The general field or genre that the book is going into includes coming out, traditional families, gender roles, memoirs and trying to find self acceptance within a society that doesn't accept you.
e. Who is the intended audience?
The intended audience would be those who are homosexual and.or those who are men and are struggling with anorexia, because he does detail in trying to figure out the root of anorexia and how to become more in control.
f. What is the author's style? Is it formal or informal? Evaluate the quality of the writing style by using some of the following standards: coherence, clarity, originality, forcefulness, correct use of technical words, conciseness, fullness of development, fluidity. Does it suit the intended audience?
The style is definitely informal and there is something addictive about the writing, at least for me, and the author literally lays himself bare emotionally and mentally in front of the readers no matter who they may be.
g. Scan the Table of Contents, it can help understand how the book is organized and will aid in determining the author's main ideas and how they are developed - chronologically, topically, etc.
The story is divided into twenty-three chapters, along with preface, prologue and epilogue in the respective places and it takes place chronologically, from the time the author has discovered that he is "different" to the time he begins to suffer from the eating disorder and so forth.
g. How did the book affect you? Were any previous ideas you had on the subject changed, abandoned, or reinforced due to this book? How is the book related to your own course or personal agenda? What personal experiences you've had relate to the subject?
I honestly felt sorry for what the author has gone through, and what's interesting is that it provides such a contrast to the memoir by Tim Anderson titled Sweet Tooth, which is probably why I chose to host it on my blog in the first place. I couldn't really help but root for the author's journey through life.
h. How well has the book achieved its goal?
If I was meant to root for the main character in hopes of a happily ever after for him as well as understanding what someone outside the norms went through, then yes the book has achieved its goal very well.
i. Would you recommend this book or article to others? Why?
I think I would recommend it to others because its a really touching story and its something that people should read to help them understand what those who don't fit the norm went through.
a. Theme: The theme is the subject or topic. It is not necessarily the title, and it is usually not expressed in a complete sentence. It expresses a specific phase of the general subject matter.
Once you learn to accept yourself, no matter who you may be, then you are closer to happiness.
b. Thesis: The thesis is an author’s generalization about the theme, the author’s beliefs about something important, the book’s philosophical conclusion, or the proposition the author means to prove. Express it without metaphor or other figurative language, in one declarative sentence.
Self acceptance and happiness is a life long struggle
It's quite a contrast of what Jon Derek Crotea went through versus through what Tim Anderson went through, and I'm afraid that for homosexual youth, Jon Derek Croteau's experiences are much more common than Tim Anderson's. While Tim Anderson's memoir seems to serve as comedic relief, or something along the lines of modern man's guide to homosexual romance, Jon Derek Croteau's is focused on trying to accept self as well as overcoming negative self lessons that he was ingrained with. I am being honest in saying I enjoyed this story far more, and that Jon Derek Croteau is a very talented writer as well as someone who takes emotional risks when it comes to writing this story.
This is for TLC Book Tour
Jon Derek Croteau’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:
Monday, September 8th: Jill WIll Run
Tuesday, September 9th: Knowing the Difference
Monday, September 15th: Juggling Life
Wednesday, September 17th: Tiffany’s Bookshelf
Monday, September 22nd: Patricia’s Wisdom
Tuesday, September 23rd: Doing Dewey
Wednesday, September 24th: Giraffe Days
Thursday, September 25th: Rhodes Review
Monday, September 29th: SuperKate
Tuesday, September 30th: Books a la Mode – spotlight/giveaway
Wednesday, October 1st: Wordsmithonia
Thursday, October 2nd: Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Monday, October 6th: Suko’s Notebook
Tuesday, October 7th: Good Girl Gone Redneck
Wednesday, October 8th: The Smitten Word
Thursday, October 9th: A Dream within a Dream
Monday, October 13th: Wildmoo Books5 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)