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The BookBrowse Review

Published September 20, 2017

ISSN: 1930-0018

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The BookBrowse Review

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  • Blog:
    6 Books That Help You Talk About Death and End-of-Life Care
  • Notable:
    Recycle Book Club
  • Wordplay:
    Y Can't M A S P O O A S E
  • Book Giveaway:
    If the Creek Don't Rise
  • Quote:
    The only completely consistent people are the dead
Book Jacket

Logical Family
A Memoir
by Armistead Maupin
3 Oct 2017
304 pages
Publisher: Harper
ISBN-13: 9780062391223
Critics:
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In this long-awaited memoir, the beloved author of the bestselling Tales of the City series chronicles his odyssey from the old South to freewheeling San Francisco, and his evolution from curious youth to ground-breaking writer and gay rights pioneer.

Born in the mid-twentieth century and raised in the heart of conservative North Carolina, Armistead Maupin lost his virginity to another man "on the very spot where the first shots of the Civil War were fired." Realizing that the South was too small for him, this son of a traditional lawyer packed his earthly belongings into his Opel GT (including a beloved portrait of a Confederate ancestor), and took to the road in search of adventure. It was a journey that would lead him from a homoerotic Navy initiation ceremony in the jungles of Vietnam to that strangest of strange lands: San Francisco in the early 1970s.

Reflecting on the profound impact those closest to him have had on his life, Maupin shares his candid search for his "logical family," the people he could call his own. "Sooner or later, we have to venture beyond our biological family to find our logical one, the one that actually makes sense for us," he writes. "We have to, if we are to live without squandering our lives." From his loving relationship with his palm-reading Grannie who insisted Maupin was the reincarnation of her artistic bachelor cousin, Curtis, to an awkward conversation about girls with President Richard Nixon in the Oval Office, Maupin tells of the extraordinary individuals and situations that shaped him into one of the most influential writers of the last century.

Maupin recalls his losses and life-changing experiences with humor and unflinching honesty, and brings to life flesh-and-blood characters as endearing and unforgettable as the vivid, fraught men and women who populate his enchanting novels. What emerges is an illuminating portrait of the man who depicted the liberation and evolution of America's queer community over the last four decades with honesty and compassion—and inspired millions to claim their own lives.

"Starred Review. Maupin ties the bonds of joy and heartache he shares with both his families (biological and 'logical'), and in so doing he has crafted a nuanced reflection on what it means to love and be loved in a flawed but beautiful world."- Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. There could be no more appropriate title for Maupin's own tale, which relates his coming of age from a rigidly conservative Southern childhood to one of the most notable writers of the 20th century. Maupin writes vibrantly…. With just the right amounts of humor, thoughtfulness, and poignancy." - Library Journal

"It is easy to understand Maupin's reputation for geniality, given his openheartedness as a person and his honesty as a writer; and that will make this delightful chronicle attractive to a wide range of readers, whether they're familiar with his fiction or not." - Booklist

"Engaging reminiscences from an ebullient storyteller." - Kirkus Reviews

"A book for any of us, gay or straight, who have had to find our family. Maupin is one of America's finest storytellers, and the story of his life is a story as fascinating, as delightful and as compulsive as any of the tales he has made up for us." - Neil Gaiman

"I fell in love with Maupin's effervescent Tales of the City decades ago, and his genius turn at memoir is no less compelling. Logical Family is a must read." - Mary Karr

Armistead Maupin was born in Washington, D.C., in 1944 but grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina. A graduate of the University of North Carolina, he served as a naval officer in the Mediterranean and with the River Patrol Force in Vietnam. Maupin worked as a reporter for a newspaper in Charleston, South Carolina, before being assigned to the San Francisco bureau of the Associated Press in 1971. In 1976 he launched his groundbreaking Tales of the City serial in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Maupin is the author of several novels, including the seven-volume Tales of the City series, Maybe the Moon, The Night Listener and, most recently, Michael Tolliver Lives. Three miniseries starring Olympia Dukakis and Laura Linney were made from the first three Tales novels. The Night Listener became a feature film starring Robin Williams and Toni Collette.

Maupin lives in San Francisco with his husband, Christopher Turner.

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