Chasten Buttigieg on Writing the Book He Wished He’d Had Growing Up
This Week on The Literary Life with Mitchell Kaplan
At a time when the state of Florida has become ground zero for those who want to silence the voices of so many, we at Books & Books found it critical to bring Chasten Buttigieg to the Miami area to celebrate the publication of the young-adult edition of his memoir, I Have Something to Tell You. Chasten was joined in conversation with the Deputy Executive Director of the national LGBTQ Task Force, Mayra Hidalgo Salazar. Pastor Laurie Hafner welcomed our guest on this week’s edition of the Literary Life.
From the episode:
In politics, it felt like the memoir is supposed to be a very specific type of memoir. And for anyone who read the first version of the book, you’ll know that I didn’t meet all of those requirements. I sort of bucked the idea that everything should be buttoned up and polite and that we shouldn’t talk about our feelings or our vulnerabilities or our fears or the bumps along the way.
And I learned so much about myself through all of those failures or traumas or experiences but it was hard to pack your childhood and all of your experiences and then presidential politics into one book. This book, however, I just wanted to write the book I wish I would’ve had in eighth grade. And I’m glad that the publisher agreed it should exist.
I just wish I could travel back in time and hand young Chasten this book, to focus specifically on identity, on all of the fears that I was harboring when I was younger, and all of the lessons I learned once I grew up. If only young Chasten could have known what was in store because growing up in rural conservative Michigan, I did not think that there was ever going to be a way out, that there would ever be this day, there would ever, there would ever be this ring or these two beautiful kids in my life.
I was so focused for so long on the idea that it was all gonna add up to nothing. So I know, because I have met, there are so many other young Chastens across the country, whether they’re in rural Michigan or here in Florida, I’ve been able to sit at those tables and have those conversations with young people.
And so while things have gotten a little better, I know that there are still young people out there wondering whether or not they belong and if someone really cares. And so this was my way to say, yes, you do.