Prayers for Bobby: A Mother’s Coming to Terms With the Suicide of Her Gay Son is being released as an audiobook for the first time.
The book, written by journalist Leroy Aarons, was first published in 1989 to wide acclaim, and it was nominated for a Lambda Literary Award. It tells the true story of Mary Griffith and her gay son. She was a devout Christian who initially believed that homosexuality was a mortal sin and that Bobby could be “healed” by prayer. But her beliefs changed after Bobby took his own life by jumping from a freeway bridge in 1983, two years after he came out. She said she came to believe in a different kind of God, one of unconditional love, and she became a passionate crusader for LGBTQ+ equality.
“Prayers for Bobby will become an instant classic. And it will save lives of countless young people,” The Advocate wrote.
Prayers for Bobby was adapted into a Lifetime movie in 2009, starring Sigourney Weaver as Mary Griffith and Ryan Kelley as Bobby. It won a GLAAD Media Award in 2010 and was nominated for numerous other honors.
The audiobook, from Blackstone Publishing, is narrated by gay actor Wentworth Miller, known for his roles in Prison Break, The Flash, and Legends of Tomorrow. It includes a new afterword by PFLAG National Executive Director Brian K. Bond and letter from Mary Griffith. The additional material is read by George Newbern and Carrington MacDuffie.
Mary Griffith died in 2020. In a commentary for The Advocate for National Coming Out Day in 2019, she discussed her opposition to conversion therapy and how she would address families who believe their LGBTQ+ children are “broken” and need to be “fixed.”
“I imagine what I would say to those families,” she wrote. “What could I say to convince them that their faith needs to be bigger, grow larger, to change? If they believe that God truly created everyone and everything, that must include their own perfect children. I know it includes my own perfect Bobby; this is how my faith expanded, and changed. It is not too late for these parents to be the trusted and loving adult their LGBTQ+ kids need them to be; their very lives depend on it.”
Leroy Aarons was an award-winning journalist and playwright, a national correspondent for The Washington Post, and executive editor of the Oakland Tribune. He was the founder and first president of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association, now known as NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists. He died in 2004.