“Pray the Gay Away” by Michael and Zach Zakar— “Mom Knows”

Zakar, Michael and Zach Zakar. “Pray the Gay Away”, Zakar Twins, 2017.

“Mom Knows”

Amos Lassen

“Pray the Gay Away” is most certainly not great literature— it is not even literature and the Zakar twins are not writers. However, that does not mean that this is not a fun read. It’s all about coming out, telling mom and so on— you know the exercise, we play it all of the time.

Coming out is hard and it is continuous– a daily part of life whether to a new friend, a co-worker, or most importantly yourself. The book looks at Michael and Zach Zakar as they face “awkward sexual encounters, drug-fueled escapades, coming out to each other, and their biggest foe – Mom, a woman who not only gave birth to what she calls one regret – but two.” This is a memoir looks at what it’s like growing up as gay, Iraqi twins in modern America. I understand that the book was inspired was inspired by the night their mother snuck into their bedroom and force fed them “holy grapes,” determined to “de-gay” them. The Zakar Twins are two of the new voices speaking out against generations, particularly within the Iraqi culture, who look down on being gay.

At times the book is very funny while at other times it is a heartbreaker. It reads very quickly and it takes no thought to understand what is written here. There are moments of humor, shock and raw emotion and we see that normal does not necessarily mean perfect and that life is a journey that usually ends up better than when it started.