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June 25, 2020

My Rating - 5 out of 5 stars
Publisher - Rupa Publication
Genre - LGBTQ/Autobiography
Publishing year - 2019
Language - English
ISBN - 978-93-5333-366-9
Pages - 224

Straight to Normal: My Life as a Gay Man by Sharif D. Rangnekar

My Review - 

This is the first time I read an autobiography of a gay man, and I admired every word. Sharif D. Rangnekar is the youngest child and very close to his mother. His father died when he was a kid, and he moved to Delhi with his family. When he was fifteen years old, he realizes that he is attracted to men. The story revolves around his acceptance, coming out, and trying to live a guilt-free life.

He describes his battle of losing loved ones, the shyness, and the breakups, the weight issues that made his family concerned. Everyone was looking for a suitable girl to marry, but things changed when he came out at the age of thirty. 

Now the same people are trying their best to support or understand him. His elder brothers Dilip and Duji were settled in foreign countries, but they are always there. His mother is a kind, caring, and reasonable person who just wants his son to be happy. 

Soon he starts going out and meeting other gay men, trying to forge a relationship of friendship or love. But they all were concerned about their safety; many were hidden behind the false identity. Some were forced to marry a woman of their parent's choice or murdered in the name of honor. 

Sharif D. Rangnekar also has gone through an incident that shook him and impacted his personality. It affects his relationships, and the irony is that he can't do anything about it because of the law that doesn't accept the rights of gay people. He is a brave person, and I just can't imagine how hard it would have been to relive all the experiences while writing this book. 

He explains the terminology of the gay world and all the men he dates or wants to. The struggle of not finding a perfect partner or a lack of places to go out is a common issue; also, not coming out and living a life of duality comes with baggage. He freely talked about his office culture and experiences with other girls; it makes the story authentic. Sharif knows how to use words and write to engage the reader; this quality makes this book unputdownable. 

The story touched my heart, and it requires a hell of a lot of courage to write your personal story that questions preconceived beliefs and biased laws and people. The last line of the story says it all, "at every stage, like in the past, we seek only what is rightfully ours irrespective of whether our normalcy and sense of love will ever be 'straight' enough for society to grasp." I absolutely loved this book, and I want all of my readers to read this book asap. I highly recommend this heart-whelming and engrossing memoir. 

Grab your copy from - Amazon IN Amazon US

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