Darrin Reed Cowan
journalist, writer, filmmaker
FOR AGENCY CONSIDERATION:
DARRIN REED COWAN'S
NYT BEST-SELLING EDITOR NOTES:
"I was sincerely impressed and, often, deeply moved. The primary elements are highly dramatic: the peculiarities of Mormonism, an almost arranged and toxic marriage, your tortured path to gay self-acceptance, the loss of your son, and the redemption from a love that began in high school. It makes for a very compelling read. Everything just really kept rolling along with hairpin turns, making me wonder what would be around the corner. I honestly shed more than a few tears reading those sections. All throughout, you displayed a knack for invoking interesting, idiosyncratic details and moments. All of the content would almost be enough in the hands of a lesser writer to keep a reader engaged, but you take things to another level with the level of honesty you employ and by the exceptional quality of writing. The prose is excellent with its hyper awareness of rhythm and language. You convey everything beautifully. Again, I want to stress how compelled I was by your story and how impressed I was by your writing. Your sensitivity and intelligence shine on every page of this moving account."
WHAT BETA-READERS SAY:
“Reed, it’s good. It’s very good. In places, the material is just excruciating, but the overarching love story makes the read very worthwhile. People will leave elevated as they navigate the pain you experienced.”
"I believe two things: 1. This is the greatest love story ever told, as far as I'm concerned because of the love enduring over time and obstacles and hardship, and 2. because there is so much more than "just" a love story."
“I have to be honest, at first I was scared for what I was about to read. I found quickly this isn’t a book about grief or traumatic experiences. It’s a love story. You’ve written a phoenix from the ashes love story and once I dug in, I saw the story arc reveal itself as a love story and it is one of the best I’ve ever read. I’m all the more thrilled that it’s a gay love story.”
“Your book made me see that there are far too few stories about love that survives tragedy from gay voices. I finished and felt that it’s about damned time the world sees more of this. And you break ground doing that very thing.”
“Only Reed Cowan could weave love, tragedy, the sometimes horrifically cold atmosphere of TV news together with hilarious off-color notes in college, a porn star at the gates of the Mormon Temple, stories at Entertainment Tonight and that whacky and hurtful encounter with Marie Osmond in a way that had me laughing, sobbing, laughing more and believing that maybe I can find the great love of my life after all. You did it.”
“Your market isn’t just LGBTQ+ people. It’s everyone who has grappled with lies and love. That’s your universality. Lies and love. My Catholic mother would read this and love it.”
“Your voice on the page is so strong.”
“You are a phenomenal writer. You are a great writer. On the page your voice is phenomenal. It’s really clear, it’s really strong. Your emotionality is really beautiful. From the first page, it’s stunning.”
"How beautifully you write! I was immediately drawn into your book and had a hard time even taking a break from reading it. I had so many emotions and I cried through so much of it."
"Your book hums with joy and pain."
"Your story touched me deeply, and while I was reading it, I cried with and for you--but foremost I felt proud to know you came out on top of it all."
"It is raw. It is enticing. It is emotional. It is you."
"You have told this traumatic experience in an authentic and extensively graceful manner."
"...how you tied your faith journey in your book. This is truly what elevates this memoir beyond many I have read. You have managed to tell your story with faith by inviting us to learn about the complications behind the Mormon church, yet, to me, has never felt like you were scolding anyone or wafting blame and frustration."
"I love so many things about your memoir: your honest, your vulnerability, your acknowledgment that you hurt others just as deeply as you yourself have been hurt. Your writing is gorgeous."
"As I read it, I was able to see the film or Netflix series. This is all way too good for this story not to make it to people's hearts and minds onscreen."
"This is such a moving work, and the lessons are too important, and the moments are too special for it not to reach the widest possible audience."
"There are so, so many parts where I tagged the language and said, wow, this is so well written. Have you read Less and Less is Lost? There are times when your prose hops like his - and his is Pulitzer Prize-winning level. You are well on your way."
“I am floored by the trajectory of your life.”
“I just love it to pieces, your book. It just did the best thing a book can do -- it kept me wanting more. It had beauty that will stay with me for a long time.”
“I just love it. And I love in particular the way it renders the heroic Greg and Fernie -- both of whom are depicted so beautifully and with so much characteristic kindness, redemption, and generosity.”
“And Wesley, of course -- my god, Wesley. It's just the most beautiful love letter to him.”
“There will be young gay kids, hiding in fear, sitting in pews, hearing a message that defeats their soul. And then they will hear your story and it will be that thread they hold onto until they are ready to embrace their wholeness! There are cracks forming within churches - parents are starting to question like never before. They will gain the strength to make sure their child doesn't endure what you did! One day, there won't be stories about LGBTQ kids going on missions, hoping to change, and coming home with an even greater burden!”
“Your strength is in story telling. And you are a master at gently pulling people into your stories.”
“I couldn’t put it down.”
“I’m horrified, for one. How could this kind of inhumane indoctrination be happening in today’s world?”
“I was locked in. From the very beginning. I was invested from the start. You paint such vivid sensory pictures that I felt like your experiences were in some way mine. Or, at least, I could get a very deep and profound sense of what you were feeling.”
“I think it’s worthy of being published AND I think it’s worthy of a film script.”
“From strictly the point of view of someone who reads a lot of fiction and non-fiction and memoir, this is a phenomenal read.”
“Well written and compelling.”
“Your memoir is wonderful and I can't wait to hold the hard back copy in my hand.”
"I expected to read it over the next week or two, but once I got started, I could not stop. I finished it this morning and now want everyone to know your story and the importance of your message."
"Yours and Gregory's love story, what it means to grow up gay in a small Mormon town in the Mormon church, and what it means to lose a child...it is such a compelling story that needs to be published."
"A huge congratulations on this incredible piece of writing."
"I must also add that I was amazed at your sympathetic voice for your ex-wife, an incredible position to take considering the complications of the relationship."