What does it cost to live an inauthentic life? If anyone knows, it’s Alon Ozery. Born in Toronto to an Orthodox Jewish father and a British mother, raised in Israel, and educated in Canada, Alon didn’t come out of the closet until he had a wife and three children. Alon is the Co-Founder of Ozery Bakery, a commercial bakery that sells natural baked goods across North America. He also co-owns the successful Parallel Brothers, a restaurant and sesame butter brand located in Toronto. Alon began exploring his inner self in his mid-thirties. He is still on that journey today.
From his childhood on the shores of the Mediterranean to dodging young women and ducking work in the motor pool of the Israeli army, Even the Sidewalk Could Tell relates Alon’s winding journey to discover his true self. This is his first book.
A funny, heartwarming tale of honest self-reflection, this brave memoir shows what it means—and what it ultimately takes—to claim self-acceptance, create inner peace, and march forward into the best version of yourself.
Please note: 50% of the profits are donated to Friends of Ruby in Toronto. They are dedicated to the progressive wellbeing of LGBTQI2S youth through mental health services, social services and housing.
Nathaniel G. Moore: When did first realize you were going to commit to putting your experience down for all to read?
Alon Ozery: At first I began writing stories from my past and as a soundboard that expressed my feelings and emotions. It was a therapeutic experience. At a certain point about two and a half years ago, I realized that I may have enough stories to make a book. At first I decided to go ahead and to make the book a reality for myself as an accomplishment by itself. Soon after I decided to share it with the world.
NGM: Do you see the writings of this book as a catharsis of sorts?
AO: It definitely was cathartic. I would sit down to write and low and behold what seemed as five minutes of writing turned out to be a couple hours.
NGM: What was the hardest part about writing your memoir?
AO: The hardest part was realizing once it was done that both friends and strangers will know the most intimate parts of my life. I’m still a little nervous about it.
NGM: It’s a toxic time for masculinity. How important is it to be a role model for younger men or people in general?
AO: I think that its important to draw the line between pure masculinity and toxic masculinity. Pure masculinity is a manifestation of love, strength and care. Toxic masculinity is rooted in fear and is manifested by putting others down to feel better about one’s self.
NGM: Your memoir details your upbringing — for those who haven’t read it yet — what elements of your childhood remain true to you today?
AO: I would say that I’m a very different person today in comparison to who I was in my youth. Today I am outgoing and confident and communicative. I was a shy, insecure and introverted youth. This transformation gave me the ability to see the world with a wide lens. What has remained is my love of creating food and sense of curiosity.
NGM: What type of books do you enjoy reading?
AO: I enjoy reading a wide variety of books. I read about history and the development of civilizations. Religion and philosophy. When I want to read something light I pick up a Mystery set in a historical period.
NGM: What do you hope people will take away from reading Even The Sidewalk Could Tell?
AO: I would love it if people get the courage to look at their own lives and evaluate how authentic they are in living them. My issue was my sexuality but for others it may be their relationships, career or even the people they surround themselves with. Once they go through that process to have the courage to take the steps that will improve their lives.