Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Conversations and Cosmopolitans by Robert Rave and Jane Rave and a Giveaway

Conversations and Cosmopolitans: Awkward Moments, Mixed Drinks, and How a Mother and Son Finally Shared Who They Really Are 
by Robert Rave and Jane Rave
304 pages
Published November 2011 by St. Martin's Press
Source: the publisher and TLC Book Tours

At twenty one, Robert Rave had recently had some big changes in his life - he'd recently graduated from college and had just moved to New York City from a small town in Indiana. But Robert had, evidently, decided that wasn't enough change for him. So he sat down and wrote a letter to his sensible, Midwestern parents, a long letter telling them that their youngest son was gay. Nervous about their reaction, Robert tried to answer all of the questions they might have in that letter. When it arrived at their house, Jane Rave was, understandably a little upset and called her husband to come to discuss it with him. His reaction? "At then end of the day, does it really matter? He's our son. He was before the letter. Why should it change now?"

Which was, in the end, pretty much the way Jane handled it as well. She had no problem with the idea that her son was gay, she didn't care what other people thought of him. Her main worry was that Robert would end up alone. Otherwise, she made it her mission to try to educate people about what being gay means, that it's just a part of her son's life, it does not define him. Every gay or lesbian person should be so lucky to have parents like Robert's.

The book is a series of stories of how a small-town Midwestern boy learned to live as a "out" gay man in the big city. Robert tells his stories, then Jane gives her thoughts and perspective on what Robert has written. There are chapters about Robert teaching Jane the lingo of the gay culture, Internet dating, therapists, and finding love. These are things the two discussed in their at least weekly telephone conversations as they became closer than ever.

Robert's stories have a very conversational appeal, although I did occasionally feel that they went on a bit longer and into more detail than they needed to. Jane's responses felt more thought out, the kind of advice you get from your mom when she's had time to carefully consider how she's going to discuss something with you. Even given that I sometimes had a hard time believing that these were Jane's initial thoughts when certain situations presented themselves, this lady is full of good advice. Her son is clearly aware that his mom is one smart, sensible woman who helped him become the person he is by opening up and showing him the person she really is.

"The best way to meet people is to simply be authentic," she said. I didn't realize the truth of this advice until years later, while sipping cosmos in the basement of an ultra-trendy Manhattan restaurant. She wasn't impressed by the restaurant, the food, the waitstaff, or the semi-celebrities. She was just here being herself and enjoying a night out with her son."

Robert and Jane clearly have the kind of relationship most parents and children would like to have. I appreciate them sharing their story with a sense of candor and fun. For other opinions on the book, check out the full TLC Book Tour. Follow Robert on Facebook to learn more about his other books. Thanks to TLC Book Tours for including me in this tour!

Thanks to the publisher, I have one copy of Conversations and Cosmopolitans to giveaway. To enter, you must be a U.S. resident; I'll draw the winner Sunday, December 4th. Please leave me the best advice your mom ever gave you and a way to get a hold of you. My favorite piece of advice will win!


  1. This does sound like a heart warming and wonderful read, and I wish that all people had parents who were this accepting and loving. I think it would be really interesting to read this one and see what I think. Even though parts of it do seem a little prescribed, I think I would get a lot of enjoyment out of this book. Great review today!

  2. This one sounds pretty good. I know that I would have no problems accepting if either one of sons were gay. My husband would have a hard time dealing with it. We've had this conversation a couple of times just out of the blue when the boys were younger and asking questions. I do like her advice though about being authentic....any other way is a lie.

  3. Lisa this was an excellent, well thought out review. I have always believe that, had my own children come to me with this information, it would make no difference toward how I felt about them or how they would live their life. It makes sense that this mother would worry about her child being alone, as most gay people do not have children. Hopefully many more will begin to do so and be able to surround themselves with children.

  4. This book really sounds interesting. I'd love a shot at it. Thank you!

    nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com

  5. I sincerely hope that I have this kind of relationship with my son when he grows up - they are certainly a pair to emulate.

    Thanks for being on the tour.

  6. This sounds like a wonderful, important book. Wouldn't it be nice if everyone reacted the way they did?