Cover image for Love, Ellen : a mother/daughter journey
Love, Ellen : a mother/daughter journey
DeGeneres, Betty, 1930-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Rob Weisbach Books, [1999]

Physical Description:
x, 366 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 22 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HQ75.4.D44 D44 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
HQ75.4.D44 D44 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



"Mom, I'm gay." With three little words, gay children can change their parents' lives forever. Yet at the same times it's a chance for those parents to realize nothing, really, has changed at all; same kid, same life, same bond of enduring love.

Twenty years ago, during a walk on a Mississippi beach, Ellen DeGeneres spoke those simple, powerful words to her mother. That emotional moment eventually brought mother and daughter closer than ever, but not without a struggle. Coming from a republican family with conservative values, Betty needed time and education to understand her daughter's homosexuality -- but her ultimate acceptance would set the stage for a far more public coming out, one that would change history.

In Love, Ellen, Betty DeGeneres tells her story; the complicated path to acceptance and the deepening of her friendship with her daughter; the media's scrutiny of their family life; the painful and often inspiring stories she's heard on the road as the first non-gay spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaigns National Coming Out Project.

With a mother's love, clear minded common sense, and hard won wisdom, Betty DeGeneres offers up her own very personal memoir to help parents understand their gay children, and to help sons and daughters who have been rejected by their families feel less alone.

Author Notes

Betty DeGeneres was a working mom who held a variety of jobs--from employment counselor to speech pathologist--while her children were growing up. In 1997, after her daughter's coming out, Betty was named the national spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign's National Coming Out Project. Now she travels throughout the country to promote honesty and openness about being gay, having a gay family member, and supporting equal rights for gay people. She lives in Los Angeles.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

DeGeneres spent most of her life as a hard-working, middle-class woman consumed with her marriages, raising her kids and making a living. That changed in 1997 when her actress/comedian daughter, Ellen DeGeneres, "came out" as a lesbian, both personally and as "Ellen Morgan," her character on the nationally televised sitcom Ellen. The first TV show to feature a major gay character, it precipitated extreme scrutiny of its star's life, prompting Betty to make a series of television appearances in support of her daughter. In this autobiography, DeGeneres details her own life, Ellen's childhood and how she came to terms with her daughter's lesbianism. She writes clearly and honestly about her innocence as a young adult, the problems of her second and third marriages, her breast cancer and her eventual ability to accept herself as "her own person." The only "shocking" revelation is that, allegedly, her third husband made advances on her daughter when Ellen was 17. The elder DeGeneres is now a spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights lobbying group, and continues today as an "everymom" helping parents understand and accept their gay children. Little here is particularly unique or interesting, which is, in part, DeGeneres's point: her family and her daughter are average Americans, and homosexuality is a normal variation of sexual identity and activity. While DeGeneres's intentions are good and she's clearly motivated by her love for her daughter, her book is far too long and uninvolving. The most important parts of her message probably would have been better conveyed in a 45-minute speech. Eight-page photo insert not seen by PW. Major ad/promo; 10-city author tour; 22 city satelite tour. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

Prologue: Coming Out, the First Timep. 1
Part I 1930-1978
1. The Importance of Being Differentp. 21
2. Motherhoodp. 50
3. The Paper Doll Familyp. 78
4. Atlanta, Texasp. 105
Part II 1978-1997
5. The Importance of Being Honestp. 143
6. I Love You, Mom; I Love You, Elp. 149
7. Big Breaksp. 180
8. Come Out, Come Out ...p. 210
Part III April 30, 1997, to the Present
9. Journeysp. 255
10. Speaking Out, Speaking Upp. 303
11. Questionsp. 329
Epilogue: It's All About Lovep. 347
Resourcesp. 367