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Editor reviews

Editors Select, May 2014 - I have been a fan of Lori Duron and her blog, Raising My Rainbow, for a few years now. When I learned that Audible Studios was producing her book based on her blog, I jumped at the chance to review it. Duron’s book (and blog) shares her and her husband’s funny, heartwarming, and at times heartbreaking experiences in raising a gender nonconforming son. C.J., their youngest son, is a boy who prefers stereotypical girl things – girl toys, girl activities, girl clothes. I’m not a parent, but the open and honest way that Duron writes about her family, and in particular C.J., is utterly engaging, and provides excellent advice and life lessons for any human being. Narrated by Duron herself, Raising My Rainbow is full of content that never appeared on her blog – more hilarious C.J. stories, more of her and her husband’s struggles with their parenting decisions, and even a disturbing account of bullying experienced by their older son. This brave memoir teaches that it’s important to fully love the people in your life…no matter what. —Katie, Audible Editor

Summary

Raising My Rainbow is Lori Duron’s frank, heartfelt, and brutally funny account of her and her family's adventures of distress and happiness raising a gender-creative son. Whereas her older son, Chase, is a Lego-loving, sports-playing boy's boy, her younger son, C.J., would much rather twirl around in a pink sparkly tutu, with a Disney Princess in each hand while singing Lady Gaga's "Paparazzi".

C.J. is gender variant or gender nonconforming, whichever you prefer. Whatever the term, Lori has a boy who likes girl stuff - really likes girl stuff. He floats on the gender-variation spectrum from super-macho-masculine on the left all the way to super-girly-feminine on the right. He's not all pink and not all blue. He's a muddled mess or a rainbow creation. Lori and her family choose to see the rainbow.

Written in Lori's uniquely witty and warm voice and launched by her incredibly popular blog of the same name, Raising My Rainbow is the unforgettable story of her wonderful family as they navigate the often challenging but never dull privilege of raising a slightly effeminate, possibly gay, totally fabulous son.

©2013 Lori Duron (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

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  • Overall
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  • Pamela Dale Foster
  • 19-06-14

Loving CJ

CJ's mom, Lori Duron, started a blog after many years of trying to understand her son, CJ. Lori needed information, so when she finally started the blog, Raising My Rainbow, numerous answers to her many queries were forthcoming.

CJ did not conform to being a boy as he was born or as a girl who he emulated, with clothes, toys and friends. CJ wore boy clothes when outside his home but loved to dress up in frilly dresses, high heeled shoes, polished finger nails and carrying a princess doll from the Disney series, one in each hand.

Lori and her husband had not criticized CJ because of him being different and tried to assimilate his wants and needs as best they could. Lori, who was told by another blogger that CJ would fit into a category known as, gender nonconforming. He wasn't all pink or blue.

Lori learned this on the blog that she had created on the internet, Raising My Rainbow. CJ is loved for who he is by his dad and brother, Chase, who is all boy.

The book was an eye-opener for me. I had never believed that men or women chose their sexuality but were born just the way they are. They are unable to change who they are just as I can't change who I am. The book contains some sobering moments but there are also some very funny parts.

The author, Lori Duron, did a great job narrating the book and gave depth to the character's development. CJ is still young and Lori and her husband will raise their rainbow son who is full of different colors, just for who he is. Lori continues to write on her blog, still having much participation from new and old people to the blog.

13 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • Catherine S. Read
  • 07-07-14

Every Child Matters

If you could sum up Raising My Rainbow in three words, what would they be?

A must read.

What did you like best about this story?

This is the reality of raising a child who has challenges you didn't expect to confront as a parent. The whole concept of "gender non-conforming children" is so new that even teachers, doctors and counselors who primarily work with children are left at a loss. As a community, people should care about how we are raising every single child. Children should be supported in who they are and professionals who work with them should recognize protecting children in their care and keeping them safe is a primary responsibility. This story also shows the limits of friendship and how crushing it can be to find out the people you believed would love you no matter what - don't.

Which character – as performed by Lori Duron – was your favorite?

Lori really makes her son CJ come alive. He is very real to me in her telling of how he sees and interacts with the world.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, it was. It's a journey of discovery and I wanted to know how it would turn out for this family. I respect that Lori wanted to read her book herself because the stories of her children, husband, brother, parents and in-laws are so deeply personal. She may not be a professional narrator, but she did a great job and the authenticity comes through.

Any additional comments?

The bonus interview at the end of the book with Lori Duron was excellent. It made me glad I chose the audiobook instead of the hardcopy. I also appreciated knowing this was CJ's mother talking directly to me and this was all very very real.

11 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • Diane
  • 01-06-14

Recommend

I have little to add to the myriad positive reviews (see Amazon) except to say that, unlike several books I have listened to recently, this one was particularly well edited (with the exception of a couple of obvious glitches). The book flowed quickly – the author provides ample detail yet never lingers too long to make a point, a delicate balance that I especially appreciate in audiobooks. I never found myself wishing to fast-forward or take a break. In fact, I listened to this book almost non-stop.

9 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • Young at heart
  • 22-06-14

Thought provoking!

Any additional comments?

Lori Duron gives us a little snip of a day in her life. I like that the author was also the narrator and wish more would do the same. I knew a little of the story from articles seen online or on TV but it was good to see it from the families perspective. I've even visited the blog to find out how this family is doing. Absolutely LOVE her Mom! Her willingness to love unconditionally is a lesson we all could learn.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Laurel
  • 12-01-16

Who Doesn't Love a Rainbow?

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

This book is a love story written by a parent. The author's child does not conform to the world's gender stereotypes. As this family learns to change their expectations and love the child they have been given - they grow and ask the world to grow, too.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Raising My Rainbow?

This book challenges you, - are you brave enough, to love the child you have been given, or will you try to hide, coerce, bend, and possibly break the child to fit the expectations you have for him/her? Could you help your four year old preschool son risk the hurt feelings and teasing he might receive for wearing Little Mermaid pajamas to school on pajama day - or would you just put your foot down and insist he wear sex appropriate pajamas and stop being "silly?" Is it his childhood - or yours? Who owns his sexuality - at 18? - at 15? at 12? at 3? Are you protecting him? or yourself? and what from? Public opinion? Bullying, a life of sin? Condemnation? If you haven't had to answer these questions - count your lucky stars, many of us have had to. Try to develop some compassion - and pray for all of us, parents and children who face these issues. The world can be a scary place. You can try to legislate behavior but you can't legislate kindness.

What about Lori Duron’s performance did you like?

You could hear Lori's feelings in her reading. When she was stunned by how someone reacted - it was there, in her voice. When she was hurt or saddened - you knew. Her love for her children is evident. She did an excellent job, better than many professional narrators.

What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

Gender and sex are not the same. You live them from a young age - but you might not understand them in yourself or others. I wish the world were a kinder place. I still see children and teens who are unforgivingly cruel toward people who do not meet their gender and sex stereotypes.

Any additional comments?

This book might help people become a bit more understanding and accepting. But - it is still scary, even to write a review about a book like this that people who know me might read (and I am old and shouldn't care what people think by now!)

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Cool Amazonian
  • 15-10-15

a must read for any parent or human

amazing story. opened my eyes even more than I thought and my eyes are pretty open.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • sandra
  • 08-08-15

honest.emotional.funny.great read

loved it and felt like the story has so many audiences. great read and I can't wait for more books from this author

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Laura
  • 13-07-15

Loved it!

Such a sweet story and so educational. I am truly a fan. I found myself trying to convince others how amazing this adventure in life. I listened to it with my 19 year old son and he enjoyed it as well. Can't wait to hear more.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • DabOfDarkness
  • 28-06-15

Great read to open the communication

Lori Duron and her family have a gender-nonconforming son, C.J. and this book is their story. If you have followed Duron’s blog, then this book is a good accompaniment. In simple terms, C.J. likes to play with girl toys and wear girl clothes and the family catches flack for that.

I enjoyed this book for Duron’s blunt, and often humorous, telling of how life is when you love and support a gender-nonconforming child. I enjoy her blog a little bit more but that simply is because it is an ongoing work and there is more detail. She shares the good and the bad, showing how family, friends, neighbors, and strangers react to not only her son C.J. but also to the entire family.

Duron also delves into the what few scientific studies have been done in this area. There wasn’t much to draw on and I think better science and understanding will come about as the stigma towards homosexuality is lifted in our society. I especially like that she explains the spectrum of sexuality. However, I do have one quibble and it is about relying too heavily on the few scientific studies. She cites one study that says that a young boy that prefers girl clothes and girl toys will most likely grow up to be gay. But what about girls who prefer to wear jeans and play with block and robots and fire trucks? Does that mean they will grow up to be lesbian? That wasn’t really addresses and my point is that our society has been way more supportive of females wearing pants (male clothes) and playing with boy toys for decades than the opposite. So, I think we need time and a larger number of kids being allowed to dress as they like and play with the toys they like before we can say such a definitive thing. I didn’t like that the author didn’t question this theory as I think it is an interesting question to explore.

The book doesn’t shy away from addressing peoples’ ideas of normal and outright biases. Even family members had to do some internal questioning and decide if they were going to be supportive or not. I really liked that the author did not gloss over what people said and did, both good and bad. This book is an excellent resource for folks who have a gender-nonconforming kid in the family and can be an eye opener for folks in general.

The Narration: Lori Duron did a good job of narrating. After all, this is her life and family and I am glad the publisher went with her voice. The emotions come through clearly without being overbearing.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Maureen
  • 19-02-15

I wish EVERYONE would read this book!

To the author:
I am the mother of 2 straight boys, 1 straight girl.. They are grown now and I have a granddaughter who was already super girly by her 1st birthday. .I love being a mom and Grandma. my kids are my world. I wanted to listen to this book just to gain a better understanding of the world and people around me. While listening I recalled so many instances when I could have handled situations better. Hindsight's 20/20. The examples of caring , love, listening , support, encouragment and respect should be followed by everyone. thank you for sharing your story and educating the ignorant ((myself included) and helping your readers to be more open minded and thoughtful. I feel like each generation gets a little smarter and a little better at appreciating differences in others. As a society we've come a long way, but we still have miles to go. Books like this make a big difference! Thank you for helping me be a better person. I will do my best to spread a more loving and accepting attitud every chance I get.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful