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Literature / Alfie's Home

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Alfie's Home is a 1993 children's picture book by Richard A. Cohen, an advocate for conversion therapy of gay people to heterosexuality. The narrator of the story (probably Alfie) tells of how his seemingly perfect and happy family is not all it seems. His parents fight all the time. His father is rarely around, usually yelling at him and his emotionally distressed mother clings to the narrator for support. Lucky for him, his Uncle Pete listens to and spends time with him. Unluckily, Uncle Pete is in fact a Creepy Uncle, and molests his nephew. This leads to many psychological problems as the narrator gets older.

This book is infamous for its being an anti-homosexuality tract, suggesting that homosexuality results from being molested as a child and having a Dysfunctional Family, along with advocating conversion therapy, a practice that had been discredited years earlier and has become illegal in several jurisdictions. Cracked named it the worst children's book ever written. Witness it for yourself.

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This book contains examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: On the rare occasion Alfie's dad is home, he yells at the boy, and his mom vents all of her emotional frustration onto him. This also apparently turns Alfie gay and is fixed by one trip to a therapist.
  • All Gays Are Pedophiles: Being homophobic propaganda for conversion therapy this is a given. Uncle Pete molests his nephew when he's just a boy.
  • Author Tract: Richard Cohen is supposedly an "ex-gay" who has written books about "curing" homosexuality.
  • Broken Aesop:
    • On the whole, Alfie's Home's message seems to be that members of dysfunctional families can overcome their problems and go on to lead normal healthy lives. The book breaks this both by glossing over the effort this requires and by presenting homosexuality as a problem to be solved.
    • Not to mention the implication that family dysfunction is bad because it "causes" homosexuality, not because of all the other problems that come with it and from it.
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  • Clueless Aesop: What was the message that the author trying to convey with the book? That homosexuality is caused by lack of a father figure, but is possible to cure by one trip to therapy and a few apologies all around.
  • Creepy Uncle: The protagonist is molested by his Uncle Pete.
  • Cure Your Gays: With the book advocating for conversion therapy, this is a given. Alfie's homosexuality is cured by a trip to a therapist and a few apologies.
  • Depraved Homosexual: Uncle Pete molests his nephew.
  • Easily Forgiven: Uncle Pete is forgiven for molesting his nephew after a simple apology.
  • Hollywood Psych: The family's problems, as well as Alfie being gay, are all solved by one trip to a therapist and a few apologies and lecturing around the family.
  • Karma Houdini: The uncle. After molesting Alfie for months, Uncle Pete gets off with nothing but a stern lecture.
  • Kids Are Cruel: The kids at school called the narrator a faggot.
  • Magical Negro: The black counselor solves all of the family's problems in a finger snap.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Alfie is assumed to be gay just because his uncle molested him.
  • No Name Given: While one can assume it's Alfie, nowhere is the narrator's name mentioned.
  • Not Allowed to Grow Old: The mother and father and Uncle Pete do not seem to age, even as Alfie grows to be a teenager.
  • Rape as Drama: Uncle Pete's sexual abuse of his nephew is played rather seriously, considering the book's message that homosexuality is an illness that must be cured. Though given what the counselor says, it seems that the molestation was entirely pointless since the implication is that Alfie's poor relationship with his dad would've led to Alfie acting affectionately with other boys regardless of his uncle's sexual abuse.
  • Rape and Switch: Alfie becomes gay after being molested by his uncle, tying in with the book’s extremely inaccurate and outdated view on homosexuality.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The Brother and Sister who appear on the first page never show up again.

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