Author of Self-Help Book for Gay Men Stuns Friends With Suicide

By Lucas Grindley

Originally published on Advocate.com April 02 2012 3:48 PM ET

The last words of the author of a book intended to advise aging gay men on finding happiness dash that thesis and have left friends wondering what happened, The New York Times reports.

In a thought-provoking piece, the Times tells the story of therapist Bob Bergeron, age 49, who was writing The Right Side of Forty: The Complete Guide to Happiness for Gay Men at Midlife and Beyond. The book's release has been canceled in the wake of news about Bergeron's suicide.

The note he left behind was written on the book's cover page: “It’s a lie based on bad information.” An arrow pointed to the book's title, according to the report.

Times reporter Jacob Bernstein remembers that In Dancer From the Dance, which he calls "the seminal 1970s novel about gay life in New York," the main character commits suicide "rather than facing getting older and watching his beauty fade." Bernstein asks, "Had Mr. Bergeron made the same decision?"


Bergeron had talked often about his age and whether it marked the end of happiness. "Thinking that 50 is the new 35 potentially leads us to behave inappropriately, instructing men to act like a 35 year-old," he said in an online complaint about the supposedly inspirational notion that 50 is as good as 35. "It also sets up the 50 year-old for failure as he tries to compete with 35 year-old gay men because he’s been told 50 is the new 35. I really don’t see how this helps an older man or assists in bringing him happiness."

Bergeron said he considered 40 to be "the beginning of the final twenty-five years of being young."


"This is something I can get my head around," he wrote in a blog post in 2010 that was a precursor to his book. "I’m 48, that puts me right in the middle of the final twenty-five years of being young. That means I have 17 years of being young left."

Read the complete Times profile.