Book Cover

My Father’s Closet


Karen A. McClintock

225 pp. 6 x 9
15 b&w photographs
Pub Date: April 4, 2017

Subjects: Ohio, Memoir

Imprint: Trillium

Add Hardcover to Cart $29.95   ISBN 978-0-8142-1332-2

Add PDF Ebook to Cart$19.95   ISBN 978-0-8142-7486-6

April 18, 2017 - Reading and Book Signing
7:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Barnes & Noble, The Ohio State University Bookstore
1598 N. High St.
Columbus, OH 43201

April 19, 2017 - “An Evening with Karen McClintock”
Presentation to Ohio History Connection, co-sponsored by Stonewall Columbus
Hear readings and listen to memories from Karen McClintock, author of My Father’s Closet, a new book being released in April 2017 by Trillium, The Ohio State University Press. Join Karen as she unravels the family secret of her father’s gay identity from his journals, letters between her parents and a mysterious painting. Through vibrant characters, the complexity of human life and love is revealed in this dynamic story based in Columbus, Ohio beginning in the 1930s. Reception and conversation follow the talk.
$5/nonmember; Free/Ohio History Connection Members. To purchase tickets in advance, or if you have a group of 15 or more call 800.686.1541 or 614.297.2663.
7:00 -8:30 p.m., doors open at 6:30 p.m.
Ohio History Center
800 E. 17th Ave.
Columbus, OH 43211

April 20, 2017 - Workshop "Sex at Church: The Problem of Shame and the Promise of Grace"
Combining her experience as a church pastor and psychologist, Karen A. McClintock will address the issue of shame in the church. This workshop, presented by the Theological Commons at MTSO, will provide participants with a look into theologically based sexual shame and active shame dynamics in congregations. Then, using the lens of grace, McClintock will offer ways for congregations and clergy to open up safe and healing conversations, heal sexual wounds, and affirm sexual diversity.
12:30 to 4:30 p.m.
Methodist Theological School of Ohio
3081 Columbus Pike
Delaware, OH 43015

April 20, 2017 - Author Visit at Grandview Heights Public Library
Psychologist and author Dr. Karen A. McClintock will share stories from her memoir about discovering her father’s secret gay life and finding love and understanding in the process. She’ll also share stories of how her mother, a former longtime GHPL Reference Librarian, taught her the joys of reading, singing, and learning.
7:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Grandview Heights Public Library Meeting Room
1685 West First Ave.
Columbus, OH 43212

April 23, 2017 - Workshop: “Coming Out of Shame”
10:00 a.m.
King Avenue United Methodist Church
299 King Ave.
Columbus, OH 43201

April 26, 2017 - Workshop for Ohio Psychological Association: “Sexual Secrets in Families: Healing Shame and Restoring Attachment”
1:00 - 4:00 p.m.
Quest Conference Center
8405 Pulsar Place
Columbus, OH

May 2, 2017 - Presentation with KYC Ohio
5:30 - 7:30 p.m.
Kaleidescope Youth Center
603 E. Town St.
Columbus, OH 43215

May 10, 2017 - Author Visit at Bexley Public Library
Thirty years after her father’s death, Karen McClintock sets out to find the gay father she never really knew. Offered in partnership with The Ohio State University Press and Gramercy Books, copies of McClintock’s book will be available for sale and signing.
7:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Bexley Public Library - Bexley Library Auditorium
2411 E. Main St.
Bexley, OH 43209

May 22, 2017 - Reading and Signing at Bloombsbury Books
7:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Bloomsbury Books
290 E. Main St.
Ashland, OR 97520

May 22nd, 2017 - Jefferson Public Radio Interview
9:00 -10 am (JPR)
Host - Emily Cureton

“From the outside, the McClintocks looked about as wholesome and midwestern as it gets. But on the inside, a bewildering emotional vacuum was taking a complicated toll. Karen McClintock reconstructs the details of her father’s double life with novelistic flair, keen psychological insight, and graceful compassion.” —Alison Bechdel, author of Fun Home (2006), Are You My Mother? (2012), and 2014 MacArthur Fellow

Thirty years after her father’s death, Karen McClintock sets out to find the gay father she never really knew. As we follow the unraveling family secret, we find ourselves drawn into her story as she and her family stumble into infidelity, grieve heartbreaking losses, and remain loyal in love.

Set in Columbus, Ohio, My Father’s Closet tells the story of how just before the war, McClintock’s parents fell in love and married, while overseas in Germany the man who she believes became her father’s lover was concealing his Jewish and gay identities in order to escape to America. A set of her father’s journals, letters her parents sent to each other during the Second World War, and a mysterious painting all lead her toward the truth about her father. McClintock weaves a complex secret into the fabric of lives we truly care about. And in the process, she leads us out of her father’s closet.

This gripping memoir captures the longing children feel for a distant or hidden parent and taps into the complexity of human connection and abandonment. The characters are resilient and vibrant. The hidden lives, the nosey neighbors, and surprise lovers all show up. In the end, this extraordinary family finds ways to connect and freedom to love. Anyone who grew up with a family secret will appreciate the dynamics afoot in this fast-paced and compelling story.

Karen A. McClintock, PhD, is a psychologist specializing in family secrets and shame recovery. She is a national workshop leader and teaches human sexuality at Southern Oregon University. She is the author of four previous books, including Sexual Shame: An Urgent Call to Healing and Shame-Less Lives, Grace-Full Congregations.

Author’s Webpage



Chapter 1     Winged Cupid
Chapter 2     Grandma Wanted a Girl
Chapter 3     Courtship by Pie
Chapter 4     The Porch Swing
Chapter 5     Awestruck
Chapter 6     Hamburg, Germany
Chapter 7     The Radio Show
Chapter 8     The Lesson

Chapter 9     Pearl Harbor Day
Chapter 10     Farewell
Chapter 11     Boot Camp
Chapter 12     Engagement Letter
Chapter 13     Gathered Here

Chapter 14     Groundbreaking
Chapter 15     Thanksgiving
Chapter 16     Mom’s Little Ditties
Chapter 17     Independence Days
Chapter 18     No One Dives Deep
Chapter 19     The Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts
Chapter 20     Our New Basement
Chapter 21     An Accident Waiting to Happen

Chapter 22     The Faculty Club
Chapter 23     Student Protests
Chapter 24     The New York Gay Liberation March
Chapter 25     Stephanie
Chapter 26     No Going Back
Chapter 27     New York Underground
Chapter 28     The Pipes Might Freeze

Chapter 29     The Crash
Chapter 30     The AIDS Epidemic
Chapter 31     Last Days
Chapter 32     The Shiny Blue Casket
Chapter 33     Saying Goodbye
Chapter 34     The Wake
Chapter 35     Mom Comes Out at Last
Chapter 36     The Bust
Chapter 37     National Coming Out Day


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