Road Home

­Norton. May 2024. 272p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781324019923.
Gr 10 Up–Readers have been on a personal journey with Ogle since the publication of Free Lunch in 2019. In what’s billed as the final book of his literary memoir look back, this may be the rawest due to Ogle’s experiences after being kicked out of his dad’s house and being unhoused when a toxic relationship with an older man implodes. Ogle’s dad gives him an ultimatum: leave or stay, but if he stays, he must be and act straight not gay. Ogle chooses to leave, heading to New Orleans and a man he met on a beach. But this unhealthy relationship doesn’t last, and Ogle is on the street struggling to eat, find shelter, and figure out a path forward without calling his grandmother. Ogle has never shied away from the truth, while remaining positive in each memoir he’s written. This work is no different; however, the situations Ogle finds himself in are far more dire, including a relationship with a much older man, drinking, and situational danger because he is unsheltered and hungry. These vulnerabilities push the comfort level of readers, yet those that have read his previous books have likely grown from hearing him speak his truth. Ogle includes an author’s note at the beginning as well as an afterword with more of his indispensable optimism and resources. Memoirs like this one keep good company with others like Laurie Halse Anderson’s Shout, Maia Kobabe’s Gender Queer, and George M. Johnson’s All Boys Aren’t Blue.
VERDICT An emotionally resonant denouement; Ogle gives readers his hardest and most hopeful book yet.

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