Praise

FROM THE BACK COVER OF THE BOOK:

“The best of these essays are filled with a warmth, humor, and vitality I associate with the Italian spirit.  Although they express the difficulty gay men have had in reconciling their sexuality with the Italian American identity, they testify over and over again to how familial love ultimately trumps the prejudices of religion and the tyranny of tradition.  The embrace of family bonds may be slow in coming, but all the more passionate for the wait.” –David Bergman, Author of Gay American Autobiography: Writings from Whitman to Sedaris, and Professor of English, Towson State University

“Gay Italian-American voices have often been marginalized, but here they’re assembled in all their passion, humor, poignancy, and personal vision. Mangia!” –Michael Musto, Columnist for The Village Voice

“An amazing collection of essays that finally addresses an experience so many of us share. Evocative, moving, and entertaining, Our Naked Lives brings forth the stories of so many of us who’ve often felt left out in gay culture as well as in Italian-American culture, while simultaneously celebrating the richness of both.” –Michelangelo Signorile, Editor-at-Large of The Huffington Post Gay Voices and SiriusXM Radio Host

FROM THE INSIDE OF THE BOOK:

Our Naked Lives made me laugh and cry, sometimes at the same time. The essays include history, humor, religion; they are memoirs infused with poetry. These stories are poignant, timeless, and brutally honest. An enjoyable read and a welcomed addition to Italian American Studies and the LGBTQI community.” –Teri Ann Bengiveno, Professor of History and Women’s Studies, Las Positas College

“In a community where queerness is celebrated and bonds have often been enhanced by choice of friendship rather than by birth and blood, cultural heritage has been woefully overlooked. The men of Our Naked Lives come out as loud and proud—of their identification as gay and Italian American. This collection of essays and reflections shows the strength and beauty of our family trees, whose stubborn roots push beyond the paved path and reach up to wave flags of their own.  We’d be remiss not to take notice and pay homage, no matter our own orientation or origin.” –Bryan Borland, Editor of Assaracus: A Journal of Gay Poetry

 “Editors Joseph Anthony LoGiudice and Michael Carosone have put together an extraordinary collection of essays on what it’s like to grow up and live one’s life proudly as Italian American and gay.  The two present, through their own moving stories and the stories of the other talented men who contributed to this volume, a fascinating glimpse into the households of Italian American families.  This book should be on everyone’s priority reading list, including members of the LGBT community and the leaders and members of the National Italian American Foundation.” –Lou Chibbaro Jr., Senior News Reporter of The Washington Blade

“What a gift these essays are!  They range widely from the most desperate moments of a gay child’s life to the exhilaration of finding the courage and the community to live freely and expansively.  As an Italian American woman, I found many pieces of myself in these stories, and they tell me clearly, with grace, anger, and generosity those necessary stories that nobody was supposed to know.  The writers are, as Ginsberg said of Whitman, ‘courage teachers.’  May they be widely read!” –Geraldine DeLuca, Writer and Editor of Dialogue on Writing, and Professor Emerita of English, Brooklyn College

Our Naked Lives moved me with a sense of immediacy while harkening back to the writing of the late Robert Ferro.  Reminiscences by several generations of Italian-American gay men are evocative as the memory of my Aunt Angie’s calamari; yet, authors do not airbrush struggles for identity, acceptance, and love. The essays illuminate, inform, and challenge the reader and eschew stereotypes.  Reflections on intersections of gender, class, and ethnicity make this collection a must-read for gender and ethnic studies courses.” –Mark Gianino, Clinical Associate Professor, Boston University School of Social Work

“These essays do not shy away from tough topics like sexual orientation or racial prejudice in the United States. These voices can be heard throughout all of the pieces, always present, always narrating. These are accurate portrayals of what it means to be a cross-section of Italian-American and gay. You hold in your hands a book written by experts. Read it with the knowledge that you will know more today than you did yesterday.” –Shaun Knittel, Associate Editor of Seattle Gay News 

“The notion of what ‘pride’ means in the 21st century, and all of the challenges, complexities, and possibilities that come with our individual and collective journeys towards it have been exponentially expanded with the publication of these beautiful essays. Our Naked Lives reveals the rich, diverse identities and experiences of gay Italian-American men, which, until now, have remained almost entirely unknown to the rest of the world.” –Noah Michelson, Editor of The Huffington Post Gay Voices

“If you are looking for a singular voice in Our Naked Lives, you might be disappointed. The stories feel connected, by themes of family, religion, class, and behavior, but like stories of any community, things are never simple. Contradictions abound and memories vary. For one storyteller, a stereotypical Italian male persona is an impossible model to follow; another finds comfort behind a peacock image. One writer finds some traditions smothering, while another wades through the madding crowd of holidays and family to focus on one person, as one writer tells us, a grandmother, for inspiration and humanity. This collection is like that good grandmother, who understands the value of certain traditions, while recognizing that all members of our family must be free.” –Louis Pizzitola, author of Hearst Over Hollywood

“From Florida to Philly, from Rome to Bensonhurst, gay Italian-American writers share their collective experiences to find acceptance with their families and for themselves. While their journeys may differ, a common bond remains, forged from heartache and loss, defiance and love.” –Jim Provenzano, author of the Lambda Literary Award winner Every Time I Think of You

“This eclectic collection of 14 essays chronicle the navigation of Gay and Italian American identities.  The comings out of these Gay Italian American men, in all their shapes and sizes, vividly show the urgency of challenging that long held Italian American belief in what Carosone calls ‘the transformative powers of omerta.’” –Paul Schindler, Editor-in-Chief of Gay City News

Our Naked Lives is among the most moving books I have read.  You don’t have to be Italian American, Catholic, formerly Catholic, gay, or gay-friendly to appreciate this important gem.  Soul-baring, brave, and honest, these gay Italian American men’s stories will resonate with anyone who has ever felt diminished, ostracized, marginalized, humiliated, embarrassed or ‘other’ simply for being who he was born to be.  Out of the closet and into the classroom, Our Naked Lives should be required reading in myriad Queer and Ethnic Studies programs.  Thank you, gentlemen!  You brought me tears of laughter.  You brought me tears of pain.  Basta cosi.  May Our Naked Lives help bring us to a time when no one needs to cry.” –Karen Tintori, author of Unto the Daughters: The Legacy of an Honor Killing in a Sicilian American Family, St. Martin’s Press

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