Carol E. Anderson
She Writes Press (2017)
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (10/17)
“You Can’t Buy Love Like That: Growing Up Gay in the Sixties” is a memoir by Carol E. Anderson. It is a captivating story of her struggle with self-acceptance and her journey toward empowerment and self-love.
Raised by Baptist parents in the sixties, Carol Anderson had a tough time accepting that she was gay. An innocent crush on a female friend left Carol sure that something was wrong with her. Fearing that she was damned, she tried to suppress these feelings by dating men. She even became engaged to a wonderful man, but found it difficult to develop feelings that went beyond affection for him. She slowly began to accept who she was when an attraction to a female college classmate went deeper than her attraction to this man.
Because of the times, these feelings left her ashamed and secretive because homosexuality was still taboo. Her secret left her unable to fully allow herself to be close to others, especially her parents, because she feared their judgment and ultimate rejection. As Carol evolves, she spends a lot of time focusing on continuing her education and forwarding her career. As other intimate relationships come into her life, she starts moving forward by finally starting to accept herself. Things are changing during this time as well, the feminist movement is gaining ground and people are becoming more accepting of alternative lifestyles. Not everyone is accepting, but Carol is able to develop relationships with people who are. In time, she becomes empowered and no longer has to hide her true nature.
I found myself totally engrossed as I read Carol’s story. I related much of what I learned from her experience to those of my friends who had difficulties emerging from their isolation because of the fear of rejection from others. It gave me a more rounded view of why they feared not being accepted. One friend waited until she was in her 50s to come out. Even then, her mother told her that she was damned. Things have changed a lot since the sixties and I believe that Carol played a positive role during that time, but society still has some moving forward to do.
I highly recommend “You Can’t Buy Love Like That: Growing Up Gay in the Sixties” by Carol E. Anderson to people who are struggling with accepting their sexuality, and for those who want to gain a greater understanding of what they are experiencing. Plus, it is a beautiful memoir, well written, and a great book to read!