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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"Every Child Matters"
A must read.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"Who Doesn't Love a Rainbow?"
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!)
"Terrific memoir for parents of all children"
I am an expectant mother and recently my food cravings have turned the tide to an appetite for parenting memoirs. I am voracious for information regarding parenting challenging or non-typical populations in order to guide myself down the daunting task of parental problem-solving in the future. Mrs. Duron's book satiated that need. Yes, the content of the book focuses on raising a simply fabulous gender non-conforming son, but under that heading, she is able to teach valuable lessons about the greater lessons we teach our children: empathy, safety, support, and being true to one's self. I hope I can parent as well as she one day!
As a frequent audible listener, I LOVE when authors read their own memoirs; however, I also have become used to and spoiled by the professionals. I would not have had anyone else read the book, but perhaps some coaching (e.g., lowering intonation at conclusion of chapter, use of pauses, practicing inflection based on punctuation) would have been helpful.
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.
This book is amazing! They need to make this a must have for churches to listen too, to expose people to fabulous people like CJ. Seriously, if adults who filled your life with hate read this book with an open mind, they would realize their assumptions were wrong.
"We can all learn something from Duron's experience"
I have always been curious about how folks discover and then adapt to some kind of specialness in their children—and admit to a real fascination with a child such as Duron’s CJ. At age 2-1/2, CJ exhibits such delight in Duron’s boxed 25th-anniversary Barbie that she opens it and…it was the toy he’d always wanted.Duron’s first-born son, Chase, was all boy. CJ, her second-born son, had a strong affinity for girls, and girl things. Duron and her husband were surprised and not entirely thrilled at first, and tried to steer CJ’s inclinations a little, thinking ahead to all the issues her son might encounter in the neighborhood and in the years ahead. But CJ would have none of it. It seems he was fully aware of what he liked “right out of the box,” as it were. He liked dresses, earrings, makeup and high heels rather than Sponge Bob, soccer, and the manly arts. His mother learned to call this “gender nonconforming.”
Duron spent some time struggling with the notion, searching online, talking with specialists, and offering CJ more common options for sports and clothes, and gradually comes to accept that her child is something very special indeed. The year CJ begins pre-kindergarten, she starts writing a blog to address the online information deficit for her experience as a mother of a gender nonconforming child. Through that avenue she makes friends, exchanges information and resources, and eventually becomes a spokesperson for gender-questing individuals. She also receives a lot of hate mail saying she was a bad mother, but fortunately she felt confident that wasn’t true. She was discovering real time that her son was unique. CJ’s proclivities are bred in the bone, and didn’t appear to have anything to do with nurture.
This is a fascinating story, mostly because CJ is one hot ticket. I don’t know how much Duron jazzed up CJ’s language as she reports what he says, but he has real personality in speech, and in choosing styles, colors, and “drape” in his clothing, even as a bitty child. CJ’s brother Chase takes some heat as the result of having a brother with what others perceive as gender confusion, but Duron herself intervenes when it begins to impact Chase’s school work and social interactions.Duron narrates the audiobook of this title, produced by Audible. In an interview at the end of her reading, Duron tells us that she felt she wanted to read the produced book herself to give the needed emphases. She knows her sons will read it one day and wanted to make it sound the way she heard it in her head—accepting and ferociously protective of them. She did well.
Duron admits to being anxious and confused herself, so if occasionally she was a little rough on folks that seemed surprised about or mentioned CJ’s clothes or attitudes, we can probably cut her a break. Encountering a gender creative child for the first time might be a little surprising for some folks, and they may need a little time to process it cognitively. I have never encountered a child like her CJ. From the sounds of things, he is one easy fellow to like. She might be able to lose some of her attitude now: a quietly instructive voice on Duron’s part might be more helpful. I wouldn’t want to give up Duron’s very careful yet casual and joyous way of celebrating her son’s differences, though. I guess I can take a little attitude if we continue to hear more of CJ’s specialness.
Duron’s book was enlightening on a number of levels, not the least being the suggestion that her son’s gender fluidity may be genetic. In addition, one learns a great deal about legal protections already instituted for gender nonconforming children, hopefully ensuring that they needn’t be bullied in schools or communities. This means lots of folks have been through Duron’s experience before, though she did not find personal narratives online and felt she had to write her own. Her blog got so much attention that she was approached about writing a book, film projects, among other things. She is still posting: check it out.
The story of this family is really pretty special, due in no small part to Duron’s own personality. Everyone would get something out of Duron’s experience: even if you don’t have a child who is gender questing, many parents have children who wish they could play with girl toys or boy toys at some time or another. It would be nice to just relax about it--it will make the kids more interesting. I was surprised to hear Duron lived in Orange County, CA. Am I stereotyping if I say I would have thought creative folks around Los Angeles would have inoculated the population against surprise about dressing up? Ah, well. We can‘t all be as fabulous as CJ. What a guy!
"Funny, touching, entertaining and educational!"
This was a very good book, I thoroughly enjoyed it! I loved the content and was happy with the authors narration, which isn't always the case with author narrated books. This book is written with humor and compassion, and is honest about the process and difficulties of moving toward acceptance. I have a young relative that is somewhat gender nonconforming. I didn't start out having a problem with that since I also have a family member in the LGBTQ community, but the information in this book as helped me be more aware of and compassionate towards the challenges he may face and to know how I can help support him in his process of self discovery. I learned a lot, not just about gender nonconformity but also about parenting, a little about the LGBTQ community and quite a bit about bullying. The resources regarding bullying were unexpected and vastly appreciated.
This book is not only a fun read, but it will inspire more compassion towards our fellow humans, no matter who they are and whether or not they conform to societal norms. Props for a job well done!
"a must read for any parent or human"
amazing story. opened my eyes even more than I thought and my eyes are pretty open.
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