Oliver's Diary

A LGBTQ+ Love Story

Non-Fiction - Relationships
142 Pages
Reviewed on 05/14/2018
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Author Biography

Rob was born and reared in Dalton, Georgia. After finishing high school, he attended Dalton State College and University of West Georgia where he majored in nursing. He earned a MBA from the University of Arizona with minors in Human Resources and Marketing. Following 13 years of employment as a Registered Nurse in the private sector, he commissioned into the United States Air Force Nurse Corps in 1996 and served tours of duty in Alabama, Mississippi, Alaska, South Carolina, Japan, New Jersey and Virginia. He retired on August 1, 2014 to Hinesville, Georgia. Mr. Groves maintains an active nursing practice.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

Oliver's Diary: A LGBTQ+ Love Story is a nonfiction book about relationships written by Robert Groves. Oliver fell in love with Christopher Standridge from the time they were in third grade together. He wasn’t the first boy Oliver had felt attracted to, but he would remain an intense attraction for much of his young adult and adult life. As a child, Oliver knew he was different, and he seemed to revel in his unique gender identity issues. He loved to dress in his sister's clothing and play at being a beauty contestant with his cousin. His parents did what they could to keep him out of his sister's clothing, but did little else to discourage him as he strove to understand what made him tick. Years later, he’d finally come out to them and realize that they had instinctively known about him being gay all along. Chris had been a bitter enemy in first and second-grade, but third grade changed things. There was a cessation of hostilities, which gave way to a casual friendship and, eventually, a first kiss. Chris would be Ollie’s first lover, and the first man to break his heart. While Ollie had no doubts at all about his being gay, Chris wasn’t so sure.

Robert Groves’s nonfiction biographical memoir, Oliver's Diary: A LGBTQ+ Love Story, is a frank and stunningly beautiful account of a life well-spent, despite the odds. One can’t help but fall in love with Ollie as you read his story. There’s the heartbreak of the tormentors who make his life a misery, and the unconscious callousness of the people who seem intent in their ignorance on alienating and defining him by his sexual identity above all else. While the AIDS crisis affected everyone to some degree or another, I felt as though I were living it so much more intensely seeing it through Ollie’s eyes and experiences. Most moving in this simply incredible work is Ollie’s heart, his capacity for love and care for his patients, his friends and for those two awesome men he loved. I doubt there’s a reader who will be able to remain dry-eyed at portions of this profound and beautiful book; I know I wasn’t. Every so often, I’m fortunate enough to read a life-changing book, but rarely have I read one that has affected me as profoundly as this book did. Reading Oliver’s Diary was a privilege and an honor, and I’m so pleased I got the opportunity to review it. Oliver's Diary: A LGBTQ+ Love Story is most highly recommended.

Lesley Jones

Oliver's Diary by Robert Groves is a brutally honest account of forbidden love and judgmental attitudes toward the LGBT community. Oliver recounts his deep love affairs over the course of many decades. His diary entries are frank and relate the treatment he received from the community, his family, and church. The book will touch every one of your senses with its heartwarming stories of love and the ignorance of some towards homosexuality. You will be inspired to live the life you want to, accept yourself and travel your own journey, no matter what society deems 'normal'. Follow Oliver's example, and be brave about who you are, who you love and never allow someone's opinion of you to become your reality.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Oliver's Diary by Robert Groves and it captivated me quite early on. The stories touched my heart deeply. The sadness of not being able to outwardly show affection if you are gay, and the battle within yourself because of the guilt society has placed on you, was terribly sad to read. I thought Oliver was extremely inspirational and a very strong character to remain positive after all he had been through. I also felt it was refreshing that a book about love contained passages of a sexual nature. This only reinforces the message of this book that homosexual love has the passion and emotion of any other love affair. I wish this book could be in a school library for teenagers to read, because they not only need to understand how words can cut deeply into a person's soul, but how the love between two people should never be judged. I am grateful to the author that he has created an honest and true account of love, loss, and survival for the LGBT community to enjoy.

Lisa McCombs

Oliver’s Diary: A LGBTQ+ Love Story is a brave story by a brave author about a morally criticized but brave lifestyle. Oliver Williamson first recognized feelings not associated with his gender at the young age of nine. He like to play dress up and experiment with his sister’s cosmetics. There was nothing “unusual” about this as far as he could see. The “crisis” occurred when Oliver, dressed in drag, rode his bicycle through the neighborhood. As a result, his parents padlocked his sister’s closet. But the urge never went away. Through the discovery of AIDS as well as the social stigma of being gay, Oliver manages to acquire a college degree, find true love, and even enlist in the US armed forces. As the AIDS epidemic surfaces, Oliver’s nursing skills are challenged and his stamina tested.

Robert A. Groves captures the heartbreaking tale of one man’s journey through life as a gay man, while successfully presenting a character of strength and fortitude. Several physical scenes are rather graphic, but the emotion is genuine and relatable to any sexual preference. While the author champions the beliefs of the LGBTQ community, he is open-minded to any backlash his words may evoke. The mores of society can be fickle, yet it is undeniable that our cultural differences exist and will continue to do so, regardless of personal taste or belief. I applaud Oliver’s Diary and the man who brought it to life. Everyone has a story and every story deserves to be heard.

Melissa McKay

One of the most touching stories I have ever read. Every emotion imaginable was evoked within me. Congratulations on telling a positive story for the LGBTQ community.

Jon Tarrentino

If you don't feel every emotion in the rainbow after reading this book, you have no heart.

Isabella Alonzo

I absolutely loved it. I could feel all Ollie’s emotions as I read. The conversations, love, relationships, forgiveness Ollie shared will always be in my heart.

Terri Lukens

"Oliver's Diary" was just absolutely beautiful. I wanted to be there for Ollie so many times, to just be a friend and just be there. I am interested in finding out what happens in Ollie's life next. These writings made me feel so many emotions. There was a ton of crying, fear, relief, shock, happiness, sass, more crying and strength. I got to experience the life of someone so many deem "different" because of their own fears. I am thankful and better for it.