“As a straight woman who’s personal and family history is
vastly different than the author’s, I thought I’d enjoy the story
as an outsider peeking into the windows of someone else’s
life. But after reading the first chapter I realized the book was
tapping into a more universal human experience. I laughed,
cried, and related to the stories in ways I could have never
anticipated. When I reached the last page, I realized the
human experience of forgiveness is universal. And Robert
helped me find some I didn’t even know I needed.”
Ginine Capozzi, Founder KnowledgeForce Consulting
By the nature of being human, the test before us is to examine the life we have lived, what has shaped who we are, what we have learned from our failures and triumphs, and how that awareness helps us to reach the “mountain top”. I applaud you Robert Graves for your vulnerability in sharing your story. Your story is a catharsis not only for you, but for all who will read your book. A turning point to find acceptance of their humanness and that which will shape the possibilities of finding self fulfillment and happiness.
Jenny T Bagen, MS, PMHNP-BC JT Bagen Psychiatric Services
I, Rob Graves, is a raw and honest story about the life of Robert Graves. This story reveals the life traumas that Robert experienced from early childhood to adulthood and how he found his way to acceptance and forgiveness.
The main character, Robert Graves, endures countless trauma in his life that begin in early childhood when his parent’s marriage ends in divorce. This was a very difficult time for Robert and his family but eventually they do recover and move on in a new way. Robert shows remarkable strength and resilience and this theme will continue throughout the book.
Possibly the most difficult part of Robert’s story occurs when his mother endures physical and emotional abuse from a boyfriend. This chilling event is described by Robert in great detail and the reader can almost feel the panic and despair as he recalls the events of witnessing the physical abuse – the screams his mother let out as she was beaten by her boyfriend as well as the sheer terror he describes as he and his sister flee the house and run to a neighbor for help. The reader’s heart sinks when Robert describes the guilt he feels for “abandoning” his desperate mother in her time of need.
The second trauma that stands out to me is the story Robert tells about his mother revealing her pregnancy and abortion. Robert comes home to find his mother crying and in a fetal position. When Robert, as a young boy, asks his mother why she is crying she reveals her pregnancy and abortion to her son. The impact this has on Robert is life long and will shape his future in ways he could never have known. Once again, Robert is able to rebound and find strength and hope.
The final image that Robert imprints in the readers is when he tells the story of his therapist’s sudden death. Robert delivers a descriptive and heartfelt account of hearing the news that his longtime therapist has died suddenly of a heart attack. The desperation and pure grief that the author describes is heartbreaking. Once again, you see the author’s strength and perseverance as he says his goodbyes and works toward finding a new therapist.
This theme of strength, resilience and recovery occurs again and again as Robert moves the readers through his life journey. At the end of the book the reader is left with a powerful feeling of strength and hope. Robert is able to learn to form bonds in relationships and continue to make connections with others in his life. This was hopeful yet surprising considering the life traumas he endured.
The book is a revealing look into the life of Robert Graves. A life that was plagued by trauma but also a life that was a case study in how forgiveness and acceptance can heal and create recovery.
Andrew J. Mattle , LMHC
Executive Director, CMH Counseling
I, ROB GRAVES BY ROBERT P. GRAVES
An empathetic, and tearful memoir
“She asked if she could pray for me. My mother had been going to a born-again church in the south towns, and she believed that people could be changed with prayer, and she believed that I could be cured of my homosexuality if I allowed people to pray for me and pray over me. I was unsure what to say or do. This was not something that I had considered as a possible reaction. She was right; my life would be hard if I chose to accept who I was. She was right. There was a chance I could contract HIV and die of AIDS if I was not careful.” An Excerpt from page 103
Robert Graves’s I, Rob Grave is a book that held me captive until I finished indulging my relatable emotions in it. It is empathetic, sorrowful, challenging and it expounds on the account of the author’s diverse sort of life issues.
As a lover of autobiography, I found I, Rob Graves as a difficult book to write because it oscillates between the author’s struggle with homosexuality, bipolar depression, childhood trauma, and several other topics about the author’s horrific life experiences. The story began with Robert’s parent’s divorce, and how he had to live with his mother, who later settled with a policeman, a man who treated her badly. The story of Rob continues by his excellent performance at school, and how he had won many prizes that got his family proud.
However, when Robert was young, he realized that he was different from every other student in his class, he knew it was hard for him to make friends, he knew something about him was exceptionally different and that he has a sort of a strange feeling that he couldn’t understand what exactly to call it. He noticed he felt different when he swam in a pool with his friend when he was much younger. This continues to the point whereby it was time for him to select a high school. He has always loved to cook and had thought that vocational school will be good for him–but the adults in his life advised him against it, and he ended up going for an Architecture program.
Robert came of age and at this time, he began to get conscious about his identity, he confided in some friends, some told him to get a girlfriend, which he obliged to, and had used as a perfect cover-up for his sexuality; some make jess and ridicule him, calling him all sort of annoying names. He was afraid of high school because he feared if he would be accepted if he would be able to make friends, and this was where his worries began that he began to feel depressed, and frequently thought about committing suicide and harming himself.
I found a part of this book very captivating, that’s the point whereby Robert was coming out to his mother, the emotion instilled in this section is very grievous, and his mother’s tears and questions pull me in, I was enthralled and it was so sorrowful.
It’s also saddening to read about the death of George, a man whom Robert had relied on for his sanity, he was his lifeline to normalcy, acceptance, and forgiveness. This part had Robert feeling sad. The story of Robert’s struggle with bipolar depression, mania, mononucleosis, and chemical imbalance in his brain – made for an interesting read, in a way that it pulls me in, it reads like a movie.
There is more to this book than I have described, there are many more intriguing features that I would have loved to mention in this review, but my attempt to make it spoiler-free wouldn’t permit me to. I’d love to say that this is my first experience reading a book under LGBTQ and a memoir of such, it’s exceptionally beyond description. I love the author’s storytelling techniques, the book is written in the first-person point of view, with the past tense form of verb.
Undoubtedly, this book is a look into the lives of many other people who are struggling with their secrets, not just Robert, but many other people out there. This is not a genre that I’ve thoroughly explored before, but I’d solely recommend I, Rob Graves to lovers of autobiographies, and literature at large.
Peter Okonkwo was born in Akure, a city in the South-Western part of Nigeria. He is a fatalistic writer, author, editor, entrepreneur, poet, soon-to-be novelist of Etean's Destiny; and a certified orator from the Friendship Leadership Institute of Nigeria. Peter is the author of three poetry collections: Ecstasy of the Dead; Fate, In the Dungeon of Doom, and Whose Fault, Kismet or Impediment? His works have been surveyed as one that runs a gamut of emotion, religion undercurrents, the afterlife, mysteries of the human fate - occasionally coming across a quite wistful, melancholy, and in other instances very positive, and thought-provoking sort of anthologies. Peter is the host of the "P. English Literature" YouTube channel where he review books and conducts interviews with authors around the world. View more posts
Watch Peter's Video review of I, Rob Graves.