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Choking On Silence: A Memoir

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Gay-themed memoirs have become more and more common, but this work stands out based on the unique circumstances surrounding the author’s life. Tripp describes his childhood in Montana as a kind of war zone: “Growing up in an alcoholic home, I was never sure where the beginning was or where on the path I would hit a landmine and have the evening explode in front of me.” He Gay-themed memoirs have become more and more common, but this work stands out based on the unique circumstances surrounding the author’s life. Tripp describes his childhood in Montana as a kind of war zone: “Growing up in an alcoholic home, I was never sure where the beginning was or where on the path I would hit a landmine and have the evening explode in front of me.” He eventually seeks refuge in the structure and discipline of the armed forces but incurs the psychological burden of having to hide his true nature. Tripp’s inclusion of excerpts from his personnel file adds another layer to the narrative, underscoring his criticism of the massive amount of resources expended by the military in an effort to weed out homosexual service members. Amid the subterfuge, the author finds tender moments of human connection as a lonely teenager working in a nursing home, a sexually repressed young man living on a submarine and a decorated officer approaching retirement. In fact, a submarine is the ideal metaphor for Tripp’s odyssey: He attempts to move undetected through largely hostile waters while facing potentially disastrous consequences if discovered. The author also has a knack for explaining decisions that lead him to pursue “reparative therapy,” heterosexual marriage and fatherhood. The only drawback is Tripp’s fondness for well-worn or clunky similes, which will strike some readers as folksy or distracting. Regardless, this memoir full of sharp insights will appeal to a wide audience—not only gay men, but anyone who wants to better understand a loved one struggling with sexual orientation and identity. A powerful testament to the importance of self-acceptance and perseverance.


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Gay-themed memoirs have become more and more common, but this work stands out based on the unique circumstances surrounding the author’s life. Tripp describes his childhood in Montana as a kind of war zone: “Growing up in an alcoholic home, I was never sure where the beginning was or where on the path I would hit a landmine and have the evening explode in front of me.” He Gay-themed memoirs have become more and more common, but this work stands out based on the unique circumstances surrounding the author’s life. Tripp describes his childhood in Montana as a kind of war zone: “Growing up in an alcoholic home, I was never sure where the beginning was or where on the path I would hit a landmine and have the evening explode in front of me.” He eventually seeks refuge in the structure and discipline of the armed forces but incurs the psychological burden of having to hide his true nature. Tripp’s inclusion of excerpts from his personnel file adds another layer to the narrative, underscoring his criticism of the massive amount of resources expended by the military in an effort to weed out homosexual service members. Amid the subterfuge, the author finds tender moments of human connection as a lonely teenager working in a nursing home, a sexually repressed young man living on a submarine and a decorated officer approaching retirement. In fact, a submarine is the ideal metaphor for Tripp’s odyssey: He attempts to move undetected through largely hostile waters while facing potentially disastrous consequences if discovered. The author also has a knack for explaining decisions that lead him to pursue “reparative therapy,” heterosexual marriage and fatherhood. The only drawback is Tripp’s fondness for well-worn or clunky similes, which will strike some readers as folksy or distracting. Regardless, this memoir full of sharp insights will appeal to a wide audience—not only gay men, but anyone who wants to better understand a loved one struggling with sexual orientation and identity. A powerful testament to the importance of self-acceptance and perseverance.

30 review for Choking On Silence: A Memoir

  1. 4 out of 5

    Joanne

    It is an excelent book that is very well writen. It challenge the principles of what consider as social norms, and how one should act if one falls beyond the standard deviation. It is a book about the need of acceptance, needs of belonging, and needs of understanding. Its a book about personal identity, and questions and doubts with oneself and God, and how some social norms and status could kill individuals that do not fit the majority norms

  2. 4 out of 5

    John E

    WOW. I have to admit, I was a little slow on the uptake of this book; seems that LtCdr Tripp's and my childhood's were carbon copies of each other's — although his was 10 years later — it took longer for me to "get into" the work since I kind of had to re-live some of my own experiences ...and put them to rest, FINALLY! It was his Navy experiences – right down to the intricacies of being a submariner – that held me in rapt attention. This memoir, like many, has a cast that would rival a Busby Ber WOW. I have to admit, I was a little slow on the uptake of this book; seems that LtCdr Tripp's and my childhood's were carbon copies of each other's — although his was 10 years later — it took longer for me to "get into" the work since I kind of had to re-live some of my own experiences ...and put them to rest, FINALLY! It was his Navy experiences – right down to the intricacies of being a submariner – that held me in rapt attention. This memoir, like many, has a cast that would rival a Busby Berkley musical finalé and enough simile to give Rogét a run for his money... although not too aligned with alliteration. There were times I wanted to reach into my nook and throttle the man if he used the term "sexual *preference*" [GRRR!] one more time! Tripp takes us through the awfulness of being a suspected homosexual with the nightmare of Navy's/military's rules and regs and the life of a sailor prior to DADT and his own personal journey as a gay man who has been forgiven by Jesus Christ. I though I was gonna be Jesus'd to death, until his closing words on forgiveness summed it all up for him, for me... For ALL of us. That's called Grace. The UNdeserved gift. Thank you, Paul Tripp, for helping me to see the CHRIST in Christianity. Can't say as I would hop on that bandwagon with you... But I'll certainly be standing in the cold on the curb, cheering you on. J3

  3. 5 out of 5

    Talya

    I have always enjoyed reading memoirs. When I downloaded the free Kindle book, I had low expectations. I had read other free novels before and expected it to be the same caliber as the others: not good. I was wrong. This memoir was impossible to put down. As an Air Force veteran who has spent her entire life around the military I was able to easily connect with the author. I felt his pain and confusion and finally grew with him. I find it amazing how far the military has come with the days of se I have always enjoyed reading memoirs. When I downloaded the free Kindle book, I had low expectations. I had read other free novels before and expected it to be the same caliber as the others: not good. I was wrong. This memoir was impossible to put down. As an Air Force veteran who has spent her entire life around the military I was able to easily connect with the author. I felt his pain and confusion and finally grew with him. I find it amazing how far the military has come with the days of seeing homosexuality as a mental illness to DADT, the repeal of DADT, to the point where we are now with DOMA and rights of homosexuals in the military. This is not just Paul Tripp's story, it is the story of anyone who is unsure of who they are.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Karen Buley

    This compelling read paints a gut-wrenching picture of the injustices suffered by gays in our military just a few short years ago. Paul Tripp's poignant story is an affirmation that change is possible. May this book be a catalyst for acceptance and equality for all. This compelling read paints a gut-wrenching picture of the injustices suffered by gays in our military just a few short years ago. Paul Tripp's poignant story is an affirmation that change is possible. May this book be a catalyst for acceptance and equality for all.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Vicky Tripp

    This memoir gave you insight into Don't Ask Don't Tell legislation and also the struggle for identity. It was really revealing on how far the United States military is willing to go on eliminating homosexuality; yet willing to accept adultery. Excellent read. This memoir gave you insight into Don't Ask Don't Tell legislation and also the struggle for identity. It was really revealing on how far the United States military is willing to go on eliminating homosexuality; yet willing to accept adultery. Excellent read.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Bobbi

    Read this book.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Renee

    great story! although its a little religious for my taste i'm glad to see someone writing about homosexuality NOT BEING A CHOICE! great story! although its a little religious for my taste i'm glad to see someone writing about homosexuality NOT BEING A CHOICE!

  8. 5 out of 5

    David Chittenden

    This is an excellent book about the struggles one goes through when one falls outside the norms of society, and how much this eats away at one's self. Oh the joys of judgmentalism. This is an excellent book about the struggles one goes through when one falls outside the norms of society, and how much this eats away at one's self. Oh the joys of judgmentalism.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    I had such high hopes for this book! What Paul shared can help a lot of people struggling to accept/understand their identity. I've been in his shoes and while I didn't struggle with the Christian aspects as he did, the way he explained the cross we bear when living a double life was very moving and accurate. I definitely saw myself in his words throughout the book. The pain and constant internal battle is excruciating. It takes up all of your energy and spirit. Every ounce of your being is tell I had such high hopes for this book! What Paul shared can help a lot of people struggling to accept/understand their identity. I've been in his shoes and while I didn't struggle with the Christian aspects as he did, the way he explained the cross we bear when living a double life was very moving and accurate. I definitely saw myself in his words throughout the book. The pain and constant internal battle is excruciating. It takes up all of your energy and spirit. Every ounce of your being is telling you getting out is the right thing to do. Yet guttural fear is holding you back. It's primal and all consuming. Days and years pass where you continue to follow the tide. Turn the other cheek. Rarely if ever put yourself first. Unfortunately living this way then becomes habit. You don't know how else to live. You plod on and on. Running on the perpetual treadmill of conformity; following a direction alien to you. What feels right and true and natural is forgotten and choked down by what is convenient. By what is expected. And yet you still make no changes. The right changes for you. Realizing that while painful and terrifying, sometimes your only form of forward movement is a leap of faith. That is literally what it took for me to move forward and let go of the fear. I learned it was better to make the move than be too afraid to.He talks about all of this in great detail. It's actually amazing just how much he accomplished given the internal battle he was fighting. But once he did get out, I identified so much with the joy and relief he talked about once he accepted himself. I was the same way. The other side really is a beautiful place to be. I really, genuinely wanted to give this book more stars but there were just too many elements lacking in my opinion. I wanted fewer details about the investigation and more about his feelings and relationships with his colleagues. He mentions his Father finally came around to accepting his sexuality. Why didn't he tell us about that process? I wanted to hear about what his relationship is like now with his son. I understand he probably wanted to keep that confidential out of respect to him but he could have given us a blanket statement. I felt such a strong connection with him. I liked his voice and enjoyed the book but once it ended I felt let down that some of the pieces weren't wrapped up. It definitely left me wanting more. That being said this is still an excellent read for anyone dealing with these issues. I wish him well and I'm glad he overcame his struggles and got to the other side! It's a very good place to be.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    Honest, courageous and beautifully written. Kudos to you Paul Tripp. Thank you for sharing your story.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

  13. 5 out of 5

    Rachal

  14. 4 out of 5

    Amber

  15. 4 out of 5

    Nick (Yu)

  16. 5 out of 5

    Alex

  17. 4 out of 5

    M.a. Cumba

  18. 4 out of 5

    Wendy

  19. 5 out of 5

    Robbin Rose

  20. 5 out of 5

    Joseph

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Bertram

  22. 4 out of 5

    Anthony Murray

  23. 4 out of 5

    Christine

  24. 4 out of 5

    Meghan

  25. 4 out of 5

    Mary

  26. 5 out of 5

    Tracey

  27. 4 out of 5

    Joanna Santilli

  28. 5 out of 5

    Chris

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jane Emmerth

  30. 5 out of 5

    Debra

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