Okay okay I am neither a closeted lipstick lesbian nor a country singer...
I have however just read Like Me by Chely Wright; it is her brand new, much-hyped autobiography and story of coming out of the closet. With her choreographed media blitz, book release, and album release, I was curious and skeptical about this one as I downloaded it on to my Kindle -- and then devoured the whole damn thing in a day, during a round trip business flight to Winnipeg.
Wright knew she was gay from the time she was a small child, and knew she had to hide it in small town rural America. The book talks about the choices she made, the lies she told, and the secret life she hid. She then consciously chose her career over her life, with tough consequences and heartbreak all over the place.
She has great stories to tell: building her career and winning awards, entertaining the troops overseas, awkward meetings with Dick Cheney and Fox News, and doomed affairs with a married woman and heartthrob Brad Paisley. When confronted about rumours she was caught having sex with a woman on her tour bus, Wright denies them loudly and truthfully -- the only sex on her tour bus was with Paisley, and they weren't caught.
I liked a lot about Like Me -- the book is intimate and smart and honest, touching, sad and sometimes funny and amusing. I also identified with a lot in Like Me - knowing early, feeling set apart, challenging family relationships, and the childhood polarity of trying to figure out who you are while also trying to hide who you are.
Wright's story is important because visibility matters. It is also important as it shines a light on a closeted industry, and especially interesting as she talks about her struggle to reconcile her sexuality and her faith.
Like Me is written in the here and now, often just as she is coming out. Wright is in progress and introspective. I devoured the book, it's fast and smart and totally involving. And now I am so eager to see what Wright does next...