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Mama's Boy: Book summary and reviews of Mama's Boy by Dustin Lance Black

Mama's Boy

A Story from Our Americas

by Dustin Lance Black

Mama's Boy by Dustin Lance Black X
Mama's Boy by Dustin Lance Black
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  • Published Apr 2019
    416 pages
    Genre: Biography/Memoir

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Book Summary

This heartfelt, deeply personal memoir explores how one family built bridges across today's great divides—and how our stories hold the power to heal.

Dustin Lance Black wrote the Oscar-winning screenplay for Milk and helped overturn California's anti–gay marriage Proposition 8, but as an LGBTQ activist he has unlikely origins—a conservative Mormon household outside San Antonio, Texas. His mother, Anne, was raised in rural Louisiana and contracted polio when she was two years old. She endured brutal surgeries, as well as braces and crutches for life, and was told that she would never have children or a family. Willfully defying expectations, she found salvation in an unlikely faith, raised three rough-and-rowdy boys, and escaped the abuse and violence of two questionably devised Mormon marriages before finding love and an improbable career in the U.S. civil service.

By the time Lance came out to his mother at age twenty-one, he was a blue-state young man studying the arts instead of going on his Mormon mission. She derided his sexuality as a sinful choice and was terrified for his future. It may seem like theirs was a house destined to be divided, and at times it was. This story shines light on what it took to remain a family despite such division—a journey that stretched from the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court to the woodsheds of East Texas. In the end, the rifts that have split a nation couldn't end this relationship that defined and inspired their remarkable lives.

Mama's Boy is their story. It's a story of the noble quest for a plane higher than politics—a story of family, foundations, turmoil, tragedy, elation, and love. It is a story needed now more than ever.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Black seems incapable of writing a dull word as he evokes his stirring life and times, ultimately inspiring comity by word and example. His book belongs in every library." - Booklist

"Starred Review. A terrifically moving memoir of the myriad complexities of family dynamics." - Kirkus Reviews

"[A] sometimes overwrought, sometimes luminous memoir...But the book shines in its portrait of the vibrant, indomitable Anne trudging determinedly over every obstacle, and in intimate scenes of everyday family heartaches and triumphs against the odds." - Publishers Weekly

"Dustin Lance Black's memoir comes at exactly the right time; his complicated, surprising, and ultimately touching journey with his mom is a great example in our ideologically divided times." - Andy Cohen, author of Superficial and The Andy Cohen Diaries

"Hang on to your apron strings, there hasn't been a more memorable Southern mother memoir since Rick Bragg's All Over but the Shoutin'. In Mama's Boy, Dustin Lance Black redefines Steel Magnolia. From page one, readers will root for this matriarch, who demurely ruled every room since she was a child." - Helen Ellis, author of Southern Lady Code and American Housewife

"A magnificent achievement. I cannot remember a book where I cried so often. Brave, insightful, unflinching, funny, sad, triumphant ... everything. And both a warning and a hope for the times to come." - Stephen Fry, author of Heroes and More Fool Me

"Mama's Boy is a beautifully written, utterly compelling account of growing up poor and gay with a thrice married, physically disabled, deeply religious Mormon mother, and the imprint this irrepressible woman made on the character of Dustin Lance Black. Their extraordinary bond left me exhilarated—it actually gave me hope for the future of the republic, which is no mean feat, given the dark mood of our current moment." - Jon Krakauer, author of Missoula and Under the Banner of Heaven

This information about Mama's Boy was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Dustin Lance Black

Dustin Lance Black is a filmmaker and social activist, known for writing the Academy Award–winning screenplay of the Harvey Milk biopic Milk, and for his part in overturning California's discriminatory Proposition 8. He divides his time between London and Texas.

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