You Can’t Buy Love Like That: Growing Up Gay in the 60s

How do you live an authentic life while keeping a secret? This is Carol Anderson’s struggle throughout her award-winning debut memoir.

Carol grew up in an era when being gay was against the law in most states, and in opposition to cultural and religious mores throughout society. Fearing rejection, she hid the truth from her loving Christian parents and from others significant in her life. The cost was a painful emotional distance that could not be bridged for years.

Thanks to the feminist movement, she found the freedom to love whomever she chooses and the courage to come out to her mother after her father’s death. The news was received with both love and reservation, and, ultimately, acceptance. Carol’s deep respect for her parents, and theirs for her, shines through her own confusion and
struggle to be true to herself.

This memoir allows people to experience the complex, invisible dynamics that arise for those forced to cover up a part of themselves to survive. It also provides life lessons for anyone hiding a core and frightening truth about themselves.

Candid and poignant, You Can’t Buy Love Like That celebrates the hard-won rewards of finding one’s courageous heart and achieving self-acceptance and self-love.

Buy this book if you are seeking inspiration to live a more authentic life or if you are looking for a great story about the triumph of love over fear told with humor and compassion.

Praise for You Can’t Buy Love Like That

A captivating story of her struggle with self-acceptance and her journey toward empowerment and self-love… it is a beautiful memoir, well written, and a great book to read!

Reader Views

The author writes compellingly about the burden of the closet—not only the threat of physical violence and social censure, but the constant emotional labor required to hide her full identity, first just from herself, then from loved ones and the outside world. This work movingly renders the complex emotional landscape of living in and out of the closet.”

—Kirkus Reviews

At the heart of this book is a question: ‘What is love?’ Carol Anderson offers more than one definition in her fearless, eloquent, emotionally powerful memoir. After reading these pages, you will be much wiser about the ways of the heart. Anderson’s father once told her, “I really admire your spunk.” We see that spunk here, in this book. We also see grace and clarity. And gorgeous writing. You Can’t Buy Love Like That will get under your skin, and you will not be able to stop thinking about it. A grand memoir.”

—Judy Goldman, author of Losing My Sister: A Memoir

The author tells her fascinating story, which is both heartbreaking and heartwarming, in clear, beautiful prose. I was impressed with her insight and ability to weave a narrative. I really enjoyed the book and hope she writes a sequel!”


I read this book in two days. It’s a poetic, yet straight-forward, memoir of Carol Anderson’s realizations and reconciliations with who she is and how she loves… The writing left me laughing, in tears, and inspired. I got to the end wishing there was more. I would read a sequel!”


With the incisive observations of a social scientist, and the wounded, resurrected heart of a healer, Carol Anderson draws the reader into worlds of intimacy…She tells a story of the triumph of love… As we read of this love we are reminded of the best of our humanity, the love that draws us together across differences, the love that really only desires a sense of belonging.

—Willie Cupples

As a scholar who studies gender, I appreciate the rich socio-historical lens Carol Anderson uses to share the experience of a woman coming out in the sixties. As an avid reader and an admirer of authentic prose, I felt privileged to see her soul, all the tender spots and the strong, resilient parts too. I gained so much from this memoir. Truthful and beautifully written, Anderson’s insightful journey is a reminder of the privilege of choice, the importance of voice and the power of love.”

—Stacy Blake-Beard, PhD, Ellen Gabriel Deloitte Chair of Women and Leadership, Simmons College School of Management

In her sensitive and poignant memoir, You Can’t Buy Love Like That: Growing Up Gay in the Sixties, Carol E. Anderson bares her heart and soul to readers so beautifully and intelligently that even if you aren’t gay and weren’t born into a Fundamentalist Christian family in the sixties, you will be deeply moved.

Readers’ Favorite

You Can’t Buy Love Like That: Growing Up Gay in the Sixties is a phenomenal read. Carol’s openness and willingness to be vulnerable in sharing her story was gentle, yet powerful. Her story will touch hearts, especially for those of us who have felt that same struggle. It takes courage and strength to stand up for what is inside of you and Carol certainly did that exquisitely. I couldn’t put the book down.”


A book for our time. About forgiveness, acceptance, and resilience. A book that pays homage to the power of love in all its forms that taps our hearts, ever so softly yet forcefully. Carol E. Anderson, a fellow traveler on the road to self-awareness and self-acceptance, brings the honesty of finding her sexual truth to us all through her latest book, You Can’t Buy Love Like That: Growing Up Gay in the Sixties. With her gentle ‘telling’ of her story, showing compassion to herself and all others touched along her journey so far, Anderson gives us all the power to find our own honesty about our lives and the lives of others. A must read.”

– Nonfiction Authors Association Book Awards Program

We are, according to Joan Didion, ‘well advised to keep on nodding terms with the person we used to be,’ a declaration that Carol Anderson has clearly taken to heart as she explores her younger self and what it was like, as a gay woman, to have to hide her true identity and her deepest feelings. Written with candor, compassion, and humor, You Can’t Buy Love Like That is, like all great memoirs, both specific and universal in its appeal.”

—Madeleine Blais, Pulitzer-prize winning journalist and author of Uphill Walkers and To the New Owners

Carol Anderson’s memoir of secretly coming to know and explore her sexuality while growing up in an evangelical family that barely allowed for the idea of gayness is a powerful account of middle American life during the sexual revolution.  But it is also something more – a reflection on the meaning of living in secrecy among those we love. An important contribution.

—Jacob Levenson, author of The Secret Epidemic: The Story of Aids and Black America

You can’t buy love like that” provides a glimpse of the challenges Carol faced and fears she overcame, regardless of what biases others had.  Her relentless pursuit of understanding and being who she genuinely is, is a true inspiration and makes her the wonderful, caring, and capable person she is today.  A must-read for anyone.

— Mark-Tami Hotta

This book is a rich tapestry of connections that shows us humanity and love in all of its splendor. Carol’s story is everyone’s story, and she brings her parents to life in a powerful way by incorporating the tides and messages of that time. Many touching moments helped me know how connected and deeply human we all are. I could not put this book down, it is an amazing piece of art.”

—Jane Dutton PhD, coeditor of Awakening Compassion at Work: The Quiet Power that Elevates People in Organizations

Finding the love you yearn for requires a courageous step—telling the truth about who you are.  And that’s especially delicate when all you hear is that you’re dangerously different.  Carol Anderson’s eloquent voice and compelling story pinpoint a time in recent history when secrets held gay and lesbian people hostage, and unspoken truth poisoned their lives.  Fortunately, though, her fearless, impassioned words are a particularly vivid reminder that, with a commitment to honesty, curiosity, and love, we can use our own stories—and our own differences—as a resource and an invitation to listen more deeply for the messages of emerging possibility all around us.”

—Peter F. Norlin, PhD, Principal, ChangeGuides Consulting, Former Associate Editor of the Organization Development Practitioner

Smart and sensual, You Can’t Buy Love Like That: Growing Up Gay in the Sixties is an immediately engaging memoir. With vivid scenes and precise emotional detail, Anderson explores how societal pressures and her strict Baptist upbringing held her back from coming out…You Can’t Buy Love Like That illustrates the pain of keeping feelings private, but also captures how, amid social change, Anderson found the courage to live her own big-hearted life.

Clarion Reviews

Carol Anderson is an exquisite writer and, obviously, a rather incredible woman. I was engaged with this remarkable memoir from the first page and felt a deep sense of awe and satisfaction when I reached the last page…This memoir is beautifully written, and struck that elusive balance between the personal and the universal with exquisite skill.


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