Family Outing

Troy Johnson

Buy it at Lyon Books

During my senior year at Chico State, I had a roommate named Troy Johnson. Between cigarettes and Pale Ales, he fostered a formidable creative writing prowess and developed a narrative voice that eventually earned him bylines in magazines like SPIN, Details and Rolling Stone. In 2008, he released his first book, Family Outing: What Happened When I Found Out My Mother Was Gay. Written over six months between two TV gigs and a job as a part-time music editor, it’s a painfully honest portrayal of how he grew up with a lesbian mother and how he tried his damndest to redefine the term “wild child,” all the while hyper-sexualizing everything in his life. Family Outing nails certain points few folks feel comfortable talking about, and Johnson’s gutsy approach augments a scathingly funny and unapologetically introspective voice. Sales of Family Outing have been pretty decent. The gay press has swooned over the book, while mainstream media have all but ignored it. Which is a shame since, by book’s end, Family Outing is less about growing up with a gay parent than about how we cultivate the relationships around us. Because, ultimately, that’s all we have.