ARC BOOK REVIEW: The Family Outing: A Memoir by Jessi Hempel

Publication Date: October 4, 2022
Format: Kindle
Genre:  LGBTQ+, Memoir

Publisher: Harper One 
306 pages
Buy: Kindle | Paperback


Jessi Hempel was raised in a seemingly picture-perfect, middle-class American family. But the truth was far from perfect. Her father was constantly away from home, traveling for work, while her stay-at-home mother became increasingly lonely and erratic. Growing up, Jessi and her two siblings struggled to make sense of their family, their world, their changing bodies, and the emotional turmoil each was experiencing. And each, in their own way, was hiding their true self from the world.

By the time Jessi reached adulthood, everyone in her family had come out: Jessi as gay, her sister as bisexual, her father as gay, her brother as transgender, and her mother as a survivor of a traumatic experience with an alleged serial killer. Yet coming out was just the beginning, starting a chain reaction of other personal revelations and reckonings that caused each of them to question their place in the world in new and ultimately liberating ways.


I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through I am leaving this review voluntarily

This is what happens when people are shamed or judged, they hide, they keep secrets and they don't talk. This is one of the reasons I refuse to keep quiet about how our daughter died, she died of a drug overdose, it wasn't pretty, but she came from a family who loved her and tried their best. When we stop judging and start listening and start sharing the things we think we should be ashamed of we realize that so many others are going through similar things and we get support we feel seen and then we don't feel ashamed. 

This book shows just how damaging secrets can be.  I'm sure Jessi is glad that her parents got married otherwise she wouldn't be here but the cost of her fathers secret was her mothers happiness and it exacerbated her depression. The cost of her mothers depressions was Jessi and her siblings being emotionally neglected, which led to issues for all of the children. 

Secrets are toxic and Jessi used the pandemic to connect with her family and really dive into what happened and how it affected them all.  It is a honest book, at times funny, at times sad, but overall the honesty is what got me.  When she divulged that she read her brothers journal when he was in college I gasped but then she told him and I felt relieved that that was one more secret that wouldn't carry on through time. 

This is definitely a complicated family with so many different things going on, its amazing that they survived still talking and helped out with this memoir. It gives me hope that by sharing her hard truths about her family she will inspire others to share their secrets. 

Click on the 3 lines at the top of the blog to view my sidebar where you can follow me on facebook, bloglovin, and amazon