LGBT Anti-Bullying Pioneer Aaron Fricke Publishes Expanded Version Of Acclaimed Memoir
Reflections of a Rock Lobster Inspires Readers to Stand Up to Bullying
Aaron Fricke, the Rhode Island native who made international headlines in 1980 when he battled in court and won a First Amendment the right to bring his boyfriend to his high school prom, has published an expanded edition of his award-winning memoir Reflections of a Rock Lobster.
Reflections of a Rock Lobster is now available through Amazon by digital download or as a paperback. ($8.51 on Kindle; $8.96 paperback.) This expanded edition, revised personally by the author, features 36 pages of new material, photos and illustrations. The book recounts Fricke's agonizing coming of age as a gay youth in 1970s suburban Rhode Island, and the bullying and physical violence he faced. In this moving account, Fricke explains the reason for his controversial -- and groundbreaking -- decision to invite his friend Paul Guilbert to the prom.
Reflections has been reprinted ten times and sold more than 100,000 copies. In print for more than two decades, it has inspired a generation of LGBT youth.This month, Fricke republishes his 1981 book with a renewed mission: "I hope to introduce the story to a whole new generation of gay and straight kids because it illustrates the value and importance of standing up to bullying."
Both his prom struggle and book made Aaron Fricke a hero in the LGBT rights movement, resulting in fan letters from around the globe and national media attention. Over the span of three decades, Fricke's TV appearances have ranged from Donahue in 1980 to Fox News in 2013. In each segment, Fricke has spoken bravely and eloquently about the struggles of LGBT teens.
A play about Fricke's life and historic prom date, Reflections of a Rock Lobster, was staged in 2012 and 2013 by the Boston Children's Theatre. BCT became the first children's repertory theater in the country to tackle gay rights issues with this production.
Fricke acted as a show consultant, working with the playwright, BCT executive artistic director Burgess Clark. There are plans to remount the show in 2014. "Young people approached me after every performance, asking when I would do an update to the book. So I decided now is the time." said Fricke.
The author has chosen to donate 5% of the new edition's royalties to GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network). Fricke and GLSEN share a controversial history: In 1995, Reflections of a Rock Lobster became the first in a list of books recommended by GLSEN for teen reading. In 2009, former GLSEN executive director Kevin Jennings, a nominee for Assistant Deputy Secretary for the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools at the U.S. Department of Education, was targeted for endorsing Fricke's book.
Conservatives protested a passage in Fricke's book that recounted adolescent sexuality. Fricke has made the difficult decision to remove that passage from the new edition and honors GLSEN's important work with this donation.
Aaron Fricke, a native of Cumberland, RI, currently lives in San Francisco. He continues to reach out to gay and straight high school students as a volunteer for the San Francisco LGBT Community Center's Speaker's Bureau. Fricke is also the co-author of the 1991 memoir Sudden Strangers: The Story of a Gay Son and his Father.