My Son, My Daughter, Myself is the culmination of a project begun by Dundalk man, Peter McCormick who decided to compile a book of personal accounts that would support other parents of lesbians and gay men, after learning that both his daughter Edel and his son Martin were lesbian and gay. Peter asked both Edel and Martin to contribute their stories for the book, and they did, but sadly both Peter and Edel passed away before the project could be completed.
Twelve years later, Martin took up the mantle of finishing his father's work, and the resulting book is a small piece of treasure. Beginning with Peter's own account of coming to terms with having two gay children, then his wife Anne's own journey, and then spreading out through the family, to Martin, Edel, their grandmother, cousin, uncle, friends of the family, and beyond into the community the family has inhabited. On the surface it's a collection of memories, letters, accounts and reflections designed to help parents who are struggling to accept or understand their lesbian or gay children.
But between the lines of this book is a layered, complex and moving exploration of the nature of family as the nucleus of the community, particularly Irish communities. On another level, it seeks to bridge the divide that has arisen between the Catholic church and gay people. Peter was part of a religious group and he sought to reconcile his Catholic faith with his unbending love for his children, a struggle that appears throughout these pages.
My Son, My Daughter, Myself can also be counted as 26 vignettes about love. It's essential reading for any parent of children who have newly come out, but also an enlightening and emotional read for anyone who has come out to their parents, or is thinking of it.
Brian Finnegan, www.gcn.ie