Born This Way

Fiction - Short Story/Novela
133 Pages
Reviewed on 06/19/2019
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Tammy Ferebee lives and writes in Baltimore, Maryland. She enjoys spending time with her two beautiful children, taking long road trips to new places, and will never grow tired of watching films and documentaries featuring her spirit animal, the orca whale.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Maria Victoria Beltran for Readers' Favorite

Born This Way by Tammy Ferebee is a heart-wrenching novella about a boy that's not allowed to be who he really is. The son of a pastor in a religious southern American small town, Joseph realized that he was attracted to people of the same sex. This is not a choice that is available to him and he always knew that it was taboo in his family and community. Desperate for acceptance and support, he finds solace on the internet in the person of Bruce, but things do not turn out the way he had always dreamed they would.

Tammy Ferebee's Born This Way is a unique coming of age story that focuses on a highly relevant social issue. Narrated in the first person voice, it is emotionally gripping to the point that it could even feel physically exhausting for sensitive readers. And this is what makes the story unforgettable and one of a kind. What is more disturbing is that Joseph's painful struggles are not that unique really. These are repeated countless times in more ways than one in thousands of communities all over the world.

Tammy Ferebee's commentary on an all-pervasive social issue definitely touches a sensitive nerve and so it should. Melancholic but straight to the point, we follow Joseph's story and it is dark and saddening but through it all, there is always a hint of some kind of hope. Hope that there are friends around you that will accept you, warts and all, and for this acceptance, life is worth living. Born this Way is a gripping short story that will stay in readers' hearts forever.

Ms Poetic (S. Smith)

This was a well-written and unforgettable story. I loved everything about it.

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Never Without a Book

Wow! I really don’t know how to put this book into words. This a truly a heart breaking story that so many I know can relate to. I am honestly just blown away about this book. A must read.

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Caleb A. Christian

This story, first of all, was well written, second, it painted a clear picture of a tortured soul, yearning to be accepted for who he is, gay, and not thought of as some weirdo who chose to like boys/men. In addition, it demonstrated how silly homophobia is, especially compared to other unscrupulous deeds that hurt people. I hope this story liberates other teens who feel alone and stigmatized, and I hope they won’t ever have to confront the same choices as Joseph.

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Willow Mammoth

To be honest, I had a hard time trying to come up with a way to write this review. This was a heartfelt and heartbreaking story from start to finish about a teen struggling with his sexual identity in a strongly religious community and family. I was hoping to see a little bit more of what had happened at the end of the story, like an epilogue, but the ending itself was heartbreaking.

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WARNING! Trigger filled story. From the opening sentence, I was intrigued. You are pulled in and the story takes you one place and makes a sharp turn down another path. Joseph is a teenage boy grappling with so many emotions and issues no one should struggle with alone especially a boy on the cusp of manhood. I enjoyed the character of Nikki as I saw so much of myself in her loving yet rebellious nature caring for and defending her friend. This was a quick read that left me wondering what happened next?!? 4.5 stars.

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A. Toliver

"Heartbreak isn’t fast, isn’t brief, isn’t uncomplicated. It’s an experience. It’s sickening, traumatic, dreadful. You break bit by bit until you feel irreparable. You feel like you’re dying, but death, the end result, the finale, never arrives. "

I highly recommend this short novel by Tammy Ferebee. It is my first time reading this author’s work. I received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. I was not disappointed. The story of JJ’s trauma raised strong emotions in my heart and mind. The protagonist’s character was written in great depth and thus his pain was palpable.
The author reaches inside the reader’s chest and grabs their heart and never releases her hold. The main character Joseph (JJ) is gay, his father is a minister at a local church in a very small town, and he unexpectedly is forced out of the closet, portrayed as the victim of a “pervert”, and sustains a bullet wound to the chest that heals like the wounds to his heart and spirit can never do.
The narrative pushes forward as his public life (school, peers), his religious life(the act of going to church and participating regularly), and his private life ( parents, aunt, best friend, boyfriend), all spiral out of control. There are fragments of secrets that piece together with each passing chapter until the most damaging and unbelievable secret is revealed. The author lets us meet JJ and get to know him. He is loving, caring, intelligent, spiritual (he has a personal relationship with God), honest ( until he keeps secrets; his and someone else’s), and a son most parents would rave about. He is also a young black homosexual man in a predominantly Christian and/or conservative community where he knows only torment and pain. Pain due to the callousness and ignorant, ill-willed behavior of those in all areas of his life, even those who have watched him grow up his entire life and worst of all, those who should love him unconditionally. JJ is treated like he has committed a crime that is unforgivable, simply because he was born gay. His parents don’t get it. His church family doesn’t get it. Only his best friend Nikki understands and really looks at him where he is and sees his pain and torment. Nikki is his lifeline through so much that he endures, the only person who treats him the same after his homosexuality is known. Nikki knows what is important; JJ. When you close this novel you will know this is true.

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Robin Leigh Morgan

Occasionally, it’s hard enough for any guy who’s gay to be accepted by their fathers; however, for Joseph this situation is increased exponentially not only because his father happens to be a pastor for a church, but also because of the persistent, old-fashioned citizens who inhabit his town, who can only view him as being an unwelcomed outsider. What this lack of approval for his chosen lifestyle does for Joseph is to create one obstacle after another which he needs to conquer so he can move on with his life.
Eventually, this unending anguish leads Joseph to seek out support from the greater LGBT community, as well as to the internet with the desire in obtaining it. Throughout this entire story, Joseph, besides the negative experiences he’s had to face, has accepted and happy with the lifestyle he’s chosen to live. And if I were to create a playlist of songs which epitomizes the essence of his chosen gay lifestyle, on the top of the list I would place I Am What I Am, the finale number from the Broadway musical La Cage aux Folles.
I am what I am
I am my own special creation
So come take a look
Give me the hook or the ovation

It's my world that I want to have a little pride in
My world and it's not a place I have to hide in
Life's not worth a dam
'Til you can say I am what I am

I am what I am
I don't want praise, I don't want pity
I bang my own drum
Some think it's noise, I think it's pretty

And so what if I love each sparkle and each bangle
Why not try to see things from a different angle
Your life is a sham
'Til you can shout out, I am what I am….

In writing this heartfelt, fictional real-life story, the author, Tammy Ferebee, makes sure to have its protagonists find someone with whom he can connect with, and with he might obtain be able to have a happier future life in more ways than one; which is why I’ve given Born This Way, 5 STARS.

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This story was touching, upsetting, and a little dark all at the same time! it kept my eyes glued! The twist in the plot had me super surprised; didn't see it coming at all lol. I don't want to give away any spoilers but that dad made me want to punch him straight in the throat lol. I'll be reading this one again!

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This book hurts my heart like no other. The story is well-written and the main character is complex, but the hopelessness hurts.

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Daya Daniels

This is a heavy story that left my mind reeling when I finished it. The ending was just WOW. From the first page I was invested in Joseph's struggle to be accepted for who he was with all the obstacles he had to overcome. I was cheering for him all the way! Many sensitive issues are covered brilliantly in this book and presented in the most raw and realistic way. Personally, I hated Joseph's father, ugh. But I loved Nikki! We all need friends with a big heart like hers. Great writing. Emotional journey. This story made me cry!.

A must-read.

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Warren Proctor

“Born This Way “ tells the story of Joseph , a young man who is desperately seeking acceptance being gay. Coming from a religious background, the son of a pastor Joseph is ridiculed for his sexual orientation. While seeking love and companionship from an older man , Joseph is set on a dark path that will have dire consequences. Tammy Ferebee paints a dark portrait of the reality of hate and intolerance. “Born This Way” is a triumphant masterpiece that digs deep into the mind of a inflicted soul .

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