“…an honest account of the profound “awakening” that stems from an appetite for life and yet also comes at a cost. ” –Richard C. Morais, author of The Hundred-Foot Journey
WAYNE, New Jersey – In a raw, honest memoir Melissa Giberson lays bare her story of a middle-aged suburban wife who uprooted everything to embrace her true identity as a gay woman. “Late Bloomer: Finding My Authentic Self at Midlife” (She Writes Press, Aug 8, 2023) is a stunning display of grief, rebirth, motherhood, and dedication to stepping into one’s true power.
Melissa Giberson longs for something she can’t quite put her finger on until, one night at the Y, she finds herself mesmerized by the sight of a naked woman and levels with herself for the first time: Am I gay? This revelation sends Melissa on a head-spinning journey of self-discovery, one that challenges everything she thinks she knows about herself, forces her to decide exactly how much she’s willing to risk for authenticity, and shakes the foundations of the family she’s fiercely determined to shield from the kinds of wounds she sustained during her own childhood. Torn between her desire to be true to herself and her desire to protect her children, she is consumed by fear and conflicting emotions.
As Melissa wades through the difficult dissolution of her marriage and struggles with how to come out to her kids, she is met with overwhelming support from the Jewish LGBTQ+ community. “Late Bloomer” is a triumphant exploration of a mother navigating grief and fear to ultimately accept herself with the support and love of her ‘found family’ in her LGBTQ community.
“Late Bloomer: Finding My Authentic Self at Midlife”
Melissa Giberson | August 8th, 2023 | She Writes Press | Memoir
Print | ISBN: 9781647425197 | $17.95 | Ebook | ASIN: B0BQBP3VQ8 | $8.99
Melissa Giberson: Melissa is a native New Yorker who identifies as a late bloomer, a highly sensitive introvert, and proud mama bear to two children. An occupational therapist and writer, she has published articles in Kveller, Dorothy Parker’s Ashes, and Highly Sensitive Refuge. She received an Honorable Mention in the Memoirs/Personal Essays category of the 91st Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition and her essay, “Art is the Antidote,” appears in the anthology, Art in The Time of Unbearable Crisis (June, 2022). Melissa’s debut book, “Late Bloomer: Finding My Authentic Self at Midlife” (She Writes Press) comes out August, 2023. Melissa is living her authentic life with her partner and their two cats; together, they split their time between New Jersey and Provincetown, Massachusetts. Find out more at her website.
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In an interview, Melissa Giberson can discuss:
- How “Late Bloomer” is a memoir that pays-it-forward to folks who are questioning their sexuality
- The LGBTQ+ community and the integral part they played in supporting Melissa in her coming out process
- How Melissa’s intersectional identities of being a Jewish, gay, mother are key themes in her journey to self-acceptance and discovery
- Why themes of grief and resilience play an important role in her story and what she hopes readers will take away from reading “Late Bloomer.”
Advanced Praise for
“Late Bloomer: Finding My Authentic Self at Midlife”
“Late Bloomer is an absolutely glorious memoir about a woman coming out, coming into her true self. A woman sharing the most intimate details. The ending of a marriage, the discovering of her own heartbeat, her own desires, the bumpy, scary, frightening, magnificent journey of self-discovery. Giberson writes that coming out is a gut-wrenching process and that she carefully chose each person with whom to share her truth. With this memoir, she’s done just that—sharing her truth, sharing the pain and sorrow and joy. And the fear. Sharing intimate details that become chapters filled with so much raw beauty. At the end of this glorious book, Giberson declares, ‘Above all, I’ve found me.’ And we, as readers, are awfully glad she shared herself with us. A remarkable journey, indeed.”
–Amy Ferris, author of Mighty Gorgeous and Marrying George Clooney
“Melissa Giberson’s memoir is a gripping account of a suburban mom’s journey from a world of shuttling kids to pools and temple to the self-discovery she’s trembling with lust after the beautiful women on Provincetown’s beaches. There is a kind of madness that befalls a person brave enough to make that journey – a human roiling through self-loathing, euphoria, depression, joy, guilt, fury, fear, erotic discovery – until they finally make it safely to where they need to be. This is an honest account of the profound “awakening” that stems from an appetite for life and yet also comes at a cost. The writing is just right. It’s straight – from the heart.”
–Richard C. Morais, author of The Hundred-Foot Journey
“In Late Bloomer, Melissa Giberson establishes her voice as a brave truth teller. By sharing her most life-altering experiences with unfiltered authenticity, she delivers an emotional tale of identity, sexuality, motherhood, and forgiveness.”
–Julie Cantrell, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Perennials
An Interview with
What was your main motivation for writing “Late Bloomer,” and what do you hope that readers will take away from reading it?
My motivation for writing Late Bloomer was born of the many times someone told me that my story was helpful to them. Early in my journey, women who were on the other side of their own journey showed up to help me and I want to do that for others as well. Writing a book enables me to reach more people. I hope readers come away from reading my book with the knowledge that they’re not alone – whether they’re just starting their journey or on the other side and hearing a story that resonates and validates their experience. I want people to know that there is an “other” side.
Your children were a primary concern for you when you decided to come out. What was it like to come out to your kids? How has your relationship with them changed and strengthened?
I was terrified of hurting my children, that they would hate me for changing their story. Telling them was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It’s a challenging situation but I knew that not pursuing an authentic life would have hurt them because kids are intuitive. I had, and continue to have, wonderful adventures with my kids and because of everything we’ve been through, I work harder to make sure I always show up for them. I’m so proud of my kids and it’s my hope that I make them proud as well.
What was it like diving back into dating and dating women for the first time in your 40’s?
I didn’t do much dating before my ex and I became a couple (we were very young), so it didn’t feel like returning to dating in my forties, it felt like engaging in something entirely foreign to me. It was awkward and I didn’t like it but I also knew that I wanted to ultimately have the experience of being in a relationship with a woman. I learned by asking questions of a friend who was in a same-sex marriage and observing couples I met in the community.
How did the stigma of being a “late bloomer” in the queer community impact you? What was the rationale for titling the book after this stigma?
It was stunning the first time a woman said I was taboo, that women would run from me. I wasn’t prepared for the various types of discrimination that can exist within the LGBTQ community—that it was no different than any other ethnic, socioeconomic, or religious group in which members of the community may be deemed “less than” based on any number of variables. I have come to embrace being a late bloomer and want to celebrate that people come into their own aptitude, and self-awareness, at various times and in variable ways.
How did your Jewish identity impact your coming out? In what ways did that community support you?
My earliest supporters were Jewish and there was a sense of comfort in that, a common ground as I was struggling with planning for my daughter’s bat mitzvah, a major milestone for her at the beginning of my crisis. At a time when my world was undergoing such drastic change, having this one familiar thread was helpful. I was invited to attend services and events within the Jewish community and found solace in some of the teachings found in Judaism.
A former award-winning journalist with national exposure, Marissa now oversees the day-to-day operation of the Books Forward author branding and book marketing firm, along with our indie publishing support sister company Books Fluent.
Born and bred in Louisiana, currently living in New Orleans, she has lived and developed a strong base for our company and authors in Chicago and Nashville. Her journalism work has appeared in USA Today, National Geographic and other major publications. She is now interviewed by media on best practices for book marketing.