Yesterday a friend drove me to Germ Books and Gallery in Philadelphia to hear my son read his recently published book, Yellow Socks. The book is an autobiographical novel with lots of descriptions of drug and sexual encounters. Underlining the whole thing is a young man’s search for himself. Earlier, knowing that I would be in the audience, he told me that he selected passages that he felt would be less offensive to my ears. Not that I haven’t heard offensive words before. What I didn’t want to hear was any explict sexual adventures. I felt that his sharing those with me would be a bit much. In my opinion, no Mother wants to hear of the sexual exploits of her son, no matter that they are veiled in the thin shroud of fiction.
The best and, it turned out, the most revealing part of the reading came during the Q&A. My son answered questions with intellegence and wit. His Father would have been proud of his responses. He also would have been humbled by the fact that the book was dedicated to him.
Actually, our son is not “our son”. My husband and I raised him from the time he was eleven and a half, not the ideal time to bring a prepubesent youth into one’s home. Nevertheless, we became his legal guardians to a youth that was not a blood relation. Our son’s early childhood was disrupted by a natural mother who suffered mental illness and by a father who left them, never to return, nor to support them financially.
When our son came into our lives, my husband and I felt that, for us, it was time to “share”. We could have no natural children. We thought that sharing our life with a youth in need would provide us with the opportunity to give someone options on how to live life. We became a close, family unit. We were always there when our son needed us and he was always there when we needed him. My husband died last year.
Our son’s book is not a literary master piece. It is an attempt of an adult male reviewing his life, acknowling his weaknesses and, hopefully, recognizing his strengths. At the end of the reading, I bought a copy. What else does a mother do? I will never read the whole thing. Perhaps some day, my son will be kind enough to select some passages for me to enjoy.