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A Vigil for Joe Rose: Stories of Being Out in High School [Paperback]

Michael Whatling
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Oct. 1 2009
What is it like to be "out" in high school today? Is homophobia still rampant, or have things changed? How do the reactions of students, teachers, administrators, and families affect the out gay student?

A Vigil for Joe Rose is a collection of stories told with empathy and humour about the experience of being out in high school. As a unified collection, these eight short stories and a novella chart the journey of the main characters from first coming out to their growth into confident young gay men, and the challenges, triumphs, and losses along the way.

A unique "insider's look" told from the point-of-view of teens in high school.

Includes the hit novella The Last Coming Out Story

What readers are saying about A Vigil for Joe Rose . . .

"Original and very compelling."

"An intelligent and elegant strike against prejudice that doesn't sacrifice readability in the name of issues."

"Written from the soul with great dignity, charm and wit."

"The characters are engaging and I still find myself thinking about them long after finishing."

"This definitely rises above the pack of recent coming out stories and adds interesting new dimensions."

"It should help to break down barriers in the struggle for acceptance, no matter how disillusioning it is to see that the battle still has to be fought. This is a great work."

Product Details

Product Description

About the Author

MICHAEL WHATLING grew up outside of Montreal, Canada. For a time he escaped and lived in London, Paris, and Tokyo. He holds a Ph.D. in education, and has taught at the elementary, secondary, and university levels. His writing includes short stories, novels, and screenplays. He now lives in the town where he grew up, tormented by intolerance, the need to write, and wild rabbits in his yard.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A compelling read! Sept. 17 2010
About Joe Rose: Montreal - Early Sunday morning a local man was stabbed to death on a city bus by a gang of youths. Joe Rose, 23, was attacked by 15 or more assailants who jeered at him and shouted, "Faggot." The incident occurred at about 4:30 a.m. outside the Frontenac métro.

Witnesses to the attack say the youths beat him and stabbed him because his hair was dyed pink. The youths pulled off Rose's hat and started punching him, then pulled out hunting and kitchen knives and scissors and stabbed him repeatedly before fleeing the bus. A female bus driver who tried to intervene was struck but not seriously injured.

"I'm convinced it was because he's gay," said one witness who asked not to be identified. "There were a lot of people they could have singled out. Why him? He had pink hair and looked gay. They chose him."

A family spokesperson said Rose was returning home from a friend's house on the last bus. In college, Rose was the president of the gay and lesbian student group.
A 19-year-old and a 15-year-old will be charged later today with second-degree murder. Two juveniles, 14 and 15, who cannot be named under youth protection laws, will be charged as accessories after the fact.


I first encountered Michael Whatling's writing on Authonomy. It was with regard to the novella, The Last Coming Out Story, now published as part of a collection called, A Vigil for Joe Rose [iUniverse, 2008]. At the time I was impressed by his skill, but finding Authonomy too much of a popularity contest cum paper chase, I didn't revisit it until recently. That's when I learned of Michael's published work.
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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A rare voice for gay kids in high school Nov. 29 2009
By David N. Parker - Published on Amazon.com
Author Michael Whatling is an experienced collegiate level educator who has taught diversity courses that include race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation. These courses led him to recognize the scarcity of research in this area that includes the voices of those being studied - LGBT students themselves. While working on his Ph.D. thesis, he interviewed students in the 16 to 18 year age group and elected to present his research as a series of semi-fictional stories based on his interviews - in the students' own words. They are all based in Quebec, Canada - often thought of as a very accepting community.
Each student's story is different, but with many of the same situations. Some schools and classmates were more accepting than others. Some parents and family members were as well. Each student reacted in a fashion dictated by their own fears and conscience.
Through these stories Mr. Whatling shows the reality of "accepting" schools and friends. It is his hope that school administrators and teachers all over North America read and understand his point of view - that our schools, even "accepting" schools, are doing their LGBT students a disservice.
From my perspective - recognizing that I am neither a high school student nor gay - this is an important work. I feel that I hear the student's voices. They ask only for acceptance and respect for who they are.
This is an excellent book. It should be in every school and municipal library, accessible to parents, students, and their teachers and administrators.
How much did I like it? My wife and I purchased it for our local PFLAG Chapter, even though we have my review copy at home. Highly recommended.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Vigil for Joe Rose Dec 28 2009
By Joe H. Murphy Jr. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful book about teens coming out in school. It will help them feel that they are not alone in the process of coming out at a young age. It will also help adults such
as certain "administrators" and other educators see what is like for glbtq teens to come out in school. Then maybe certain "administrators" will do more to make their school culture safe for glbtq youth and teachers as well as all youth.
4.0 out of 5 stars A Vigil for Joe Rose Feb. 11 2010
By Doris E. Cowan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I gave this to a friend - he didn't think all the stories were well-written, but he liked the book in general.
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