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Teaching the cat to sit : a memoir

Author: Michelle Theall
Publisher: New York : Gallery Books, [2014]
Edition/Format:   Print book : Biography : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
"A compelling memoir of a gay Catholic woman struggling to find balance between being a daughter and a mother raising her son with a loving partner in the face of discrimination. From the time she was born, Michelle Theall knew she was different. Coming of age in the Texas Bible Belt, a place where it was unacceptable to be gay, Theall found herself at odds with her strict Roman Catholic parents, bullied by her
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Details

Genre/Form: Biography
Named Person: Michelle Theall; Michelle Theall
Material Type: Biography
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Michelle Theall
ISBN: 9781451697292 1451697295 9781451697308 1451697309
OCLC Number: 812258035
Description: 275 pages ; 23 cm
Responsibility: Michelle Theall.

Abstract:

"A compelling memoir of a gay Catholic woman struggling to find balance between being a daughter and a mother raising her son with a loving partner in the face of discrimination. From the time she was born, Michelle Theall knew she was different. Coming of age in the Texas Bible Belt, a place where it was unacceptable to be gay, Theall found herself at odds with her strict Roman Catholic parents, bullied by her classmates, abandoned by her evangelical best friend whose mother spoke in tongues, and kicked out of Christian organizations that claimed to embrace her--all before she'd ever held a girl's hand. Shame and her longing for her mother's acceptance led her to deny her feelings and eventually run away to a remote stretch of mountains in Colorado. There, she made her home on an elk migration path facing the Continental Divide, speaking to God every day, but rarely seeing another human being. At forty-three years of age and seemingly settled in her decision to live life openly as a gay woman, Theall and her partner attempt to have their son baptized into the Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church in the liberal town of Boulder, Colorado. Her quest to have her son accepted into the Church leads to a battle with Sacred Heart and with her mother that leaves her questioning everything she thought she knew about the bonds of family and faith. And she realizes that in order to be a good mother, she may have to be a bad daughter. Teaching the Cat to Sit examines the modern roles of motherhood and religion and demonstrates that our infinite capacity to love has the power to shape us all"--

"The book opens with Michelle taking on the priest in her Catholic church in Boulder, Colorado, who is reneging on his promise to baptize her four-year-old son, Logan, a mixed race kid who was in an abusive home with unfit teenage parents before she and her partner of eleven years Avery adopted him. But the real tension at the heart of the book is Michelle wrestling with where she came from, what it means to be Catholic, what her faith means to her in spite of the church's stance on social issues, as well as coping with her own mother's unwillingness to accept her loving relationship with her partner even though she dotes on Logan--and how sometimes you have to meet in the middle to get along with family. For Michelle, it wasn't until she developed MS and was being cared for by Avery--the only conduit her mother had to find out news of her daughter's condition from 2,000 miles away--that her mother began to accept her partner as family. Ultimately, they forged a bond over loving Michelle. Michelle does poignant as well as she does spare and paints a portrait of a mother-daughter relationship that is at once fraught and loving, doomed and hopeful, as she and her mom try to relate across generations and cultures, sexual orientation and illness, faith and religion. At its core, Teaching the Cat to Sit is a mother-daughter story about being a mother when you still need a mother yourself"--

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