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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 virginit 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.


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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 virginit 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.

30 review for Logical Family: A Memoir

  1. 4 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    3.5 Engaging memoir by this author, who was raised in the South by a father who was a raging racist and homophobe. Hiding his own sexuality caused much conflict within himself, and in trying to please his father he enrolled in law school, which he soon dropped out. Then he joined the service and was sent to Vietnam. Eventually he would find acceptance professionally with the serialization of Tales in the City. Personally he would form a logical family, those in whose company he felt accepted, in 3.5 Engaging memoir by this author, who was raised in the South by a father who was a raging racist and homophobe. Hiding his own sexuality caused much conflict within himself, and in trying to please his father he enrolled in law school, which he soon dropped out. Then he joined the service and was sent to Vietnam. Eventually he would find acceptance professionally with the serialization of Tales in the City. Personally he would form a logical family, those in whose company he felt accepted, including Rock Hudson. For years he hid his sexual inclinations from his family but finally came out to his sister, who at the time told him his mother also knew, they did agree it was wiser, however, to not tell his father. As he mentions, "Southern women keep secrets to protect their delicate men." I'm not Southern so don't know if that is true or not but I do believe most women everywhere do the same. His writing is most natural, it flows so well. So much history, the sixties, the war, his career, and how his thoughts changed as he gained confidence in himself. Found this a most interesting memoir, and now a confession. I have never read this authors fiction but......I do intend to and to start with Tales of the City. I find that after reading memoirs or autobiographies of authors and I then read their novels, I have a different take, a keener insight into their work. ARC from Edelweiss.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Julie Ehlers

    I grew up in a small blue-collar Catholic town where there weren't exactly a lot of different models for how a person might choose to live his or her life. I somehow emerged from my (also Catholic) university a more progressive person than when I'd gone in, but I still couldn't conceive of a life beyond the get-random-job, get-married, have-kids, give-up-job-to-raise them paradigm I'd seen all around me growing up. Then I read Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City, and I was enthralled. All these I grew up in a small blue-collar Catholic town where there weren't exactly a lot of different models for how a person might choose to live his or her life. I somehow emerged from my (also Catholic) university a more progressive person than when I'd gone in, but I still couldn't conceive of a life beyond the get-random-job, get-married, have-kids, give-up-job-to-raise them paradigm I'd seen all around me growing up. Then I read Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City, and I was enthralled. All these interesting characters! All these varied lives and lifestyles! All this time spent figuring things out instead of defaulting to what everyone else seems to be doing! It was so interesting, and so fun, and so endearing, and it made me fall in love with the 1970s San Francisco it portrayed. The Tales of the City books were formative for me, and I adored and devoured all six volumes, not to mention the three modern-day volumes Maupin wrote later. I also consider Maupin's insanely suspenseful and completely unputdownable stand-alone novel The Night Listener one of my all-time favorites. Avoid the movie version, but don't avoid the wonderful Tales of the City miniseries, of which there are three installments. There may even be a fourth coming soon, and as long as Paul Hopkins will be back to play Michael "Mouse" Tolliver, I will be totally on board. Oh, who am I kidding; I'll be totally on board either way. I love Armistead Maupin so much I can barely stand it sometimes. So it was a major disappointment to find that I hated this memoir. Just kidding! Of course I totally loved it. If I had given it anything less than 4 stars, I would hope someone would call 911 on my behalf, because clearly something would be seriously wrong with me. If you read the Tales of the City books, you may feel you already know a lot about Armistead Maupin, but Logical Family will surprise you with how much else there is to know. As it turns out, Maupin did not crawl out of the San Francisco Bay fully formed, wearing tight Levis, a button-down plaid shirt, and the same seventies-tastic mustache he still sports to this day. He was raised in the South by a conservative father, and considered himself conservative until well into his twenties. He served in the Vietnam War! He considered becoming a lawyer for his father's firm! This was all fascinating, as was the story of his transition to an out gay man, writer of a popular daily series for the SF Chronicle, and social justice warrior. I'd always seen the Michael Tolliver character as Maupin's stand-in, but reading Logical Family made me realize how many of his characters represent parts of his past and personality, from the small-town naivete of Mary Ann Singleton to the worldly and mysterious Mrs. Madrigal, and everyone in between. I read most of this book in a state of unfettered joy, interrupted only once or twice by heartfelt weeping. Logical Family has a lot to offer any reader, but I think it's best for people who are familiar with Maupin's past work. Without that background, you're going to miss a lot of the references. But this shouldn't serve as a deterrent for anyone. Rather, it should serve as the spark to acquaint yourself with Maupin's delightful Tales and the unique reading experience they offer. If I had one complaint about this memoir, it could only be that I wanted more. As much as Maupin included in Logical Family, I'm sure there's a lot that he left out. So my next step will be to watch the recent documentary The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin, which, as luck would have it, is showing on PBS on the evening of January 1. A better way to begin 2018 I cannot imagine. Happy New Year!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    As with the series that made him famous, Maupin's memoir moves at a rapid pace, rarely dwelling on any one episode for more than a moment. Opting for breadth over depth, Maupin covers many years over the course of twenty short chapters; the first half of the memoir recounts his conservative youth spent in North Carolina and Vietnam, the second his adulthood as a popular writer living in San Francisco. Maupin's conversational style is easy to read, and he paints vivid portraits of famous friends As with the series that made him famous, Maupin's memoir moves at a rapid pace, rarely dwelling on any one episode for more than a moment. Opting for breadth over depth, Maupin covers many years over the course of twenty short chapters; the first half of the memoir recounts his conservative youth spent in North Carolina and Vietnam, the second his adulthood as a popular writer living in San Francisco. Maupin's conversational style is easy to read, and he paints vivid portraits of famous friends and family members. Despite what the title suggests, it is Maupin's relationship to his biological parents, not his "logical family" of friends, that seems to structure the memoir as a whole. His parents dominate the sections about his youth and adolescence, and they repeatedly resurface during the San Francisco chapters, ostensibly concerned as those chapters are with other subjects. The memoir, then, reads as a bit unfocused.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Monika

    This was good and in many places, quite touching. I'm glad I read it. I especially appreciated reading about his experiences being in the military during the Vietnam War. But I couldn't get past the cis male gaze whenever he referred to trans women (real or fictional). Deadnaming and inconsistent gendering, and using the trans experience as a plot device. Otherwise, a lovely and heartfelt memoir. 3 1/2 stars.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jill Meyer

    Armistead Maupin, that gay southern boy with the very good manners, is the author of the "Tales of the City" series, as well as couple of standalone novels. In this memoir, "Logical Family", Maupin recounts his "families" - both birth and acquired - with beautiful writing and almost sublime graciousness. He's cautious in what he should reveal...and what not to. And, believe me, that ability can make or break a memoir. "Logical Family" is the selected memories of a lifetime. He writes about his Armistead Maupin, that gay southern boy with the very good manners, is the author of the "Tales of the City" series, as well as couple of standalone novels. In this memoir, "Logical Family", Maupin recounts his "families" - both birth and acquired - with beautiful writing and almost sublime graciousness. He's cautious in what he should reveal...and what not to. And, believe me, that ability can make or break a memoir. "Logical Family" is the selected memories of a lifetime. He writes about his parents and two siblings and how he was raised in Raleigh, NC, the son of a lawyer and a...lady. He adored his mother and respected his father. Coming out to them was done over a lifetime - and in one very famous piece, written as "Michael Tolliver" - though Maupin thinks his mother always knew he was gay. But we don't talk about such things in prominent, conservative Republican families, whose grandparents and great grandparents on one side, fought for the South in the Civil War. On the other, he was a descendant of wealthy Brits who had emigrated to the United States in the early 20th century. However, as Maupin investigates, much of the story - like all family stories - is not quite as it was portrayed in family lore. Maupin also rites about his family of friends and lovers. He's candid about the people who have meant a lot to him in his life. One of things I enjoyed most about the book is Maupin's on-going recounting on his change from conservative-in-the-closet to liberal out-man. His life is both a personal and political journey, recounted beautifully in "Logical Family".

  6. 4 out of 5

    Tim Pinckney

    Easily my favorite book this year. He makes me laugh out loud. But, on the train home tonight, I was crying. Out loud. Armistead Maupin is a national treasure. If you don't know his books, jump into "Tales of the City" - you have a great ride ahead.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    Many straight Americans first learned of the San Francisco gay scene in the 1980's from “Tales of the City”, either the novel, based on a San Francisco Chronicle daily newspaper serial, or the television mini-series. Armistad Maupin, the right writer was in the right place at the right time, as a participant and observer of San Francisco gay life during the crucial period which included the beginning of AIDS and the murder of Harvey Milk. He managed to weave true events, such as the Florida/Anit Many straight Americans first learned of the San Francisco gay scene in the 1980's from “Tales of the City”, either the novel, based on a San Francisco Chronicle daily newspaper serial, or the television mini-series. Armistad Maupin, the right writer was in the right place at the right time, as a participant and observer of San Francisco gay life during the crucial period which included the beginning of AIDS and the murder of Harvey Milk. He managed to weave true events, such as the Florida/Anita Bryant discrimination proposal, into the story, so that his fictional characters' experiences mirrored the experience of many gay men of the period, including their dilemma about “coming out”. The character Michael's coming-out "Letter to Mama", sent in response to learning his parents are supporting the discriminatory proposal, is included in the book as an "Afterword". Here, Armistad Maupin tells his own story, having to distance himself from a racist, homophobic Southern community, and trying, with heartbreakingly limited success, to remain in contact with his biological family. His second and probably more logical family becomes the San Francisco gay community, and he has quite a few stories to tell about various gay icons whom he befriended during his journey. Maupin urged others, including that famous movie star, to “come out” for their own emotional health and also for the health of the community. Maupin demonstrated in his many books that he knows how to engage the reader when he tells the story of invented characters. He does the same with his own.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Dan

    Maupin's personal life is just as fascinating as his fictional one. This memoir is filled with hilarious stories about his childhood, his time in the Navy, and his life in San Francisco. There are poignant moments that show how his conservative stances in his early life were equal parts a plea for his father's love and a strategy to keep him safe in the closet. Throughout, the mood stays light and touching, with plenty of entertaining anecdotes — exactly what we've come to expect from Maupin. If Maupin's personal life is just as fascinating as his fictional one. This memoir is filled with hilarious stories about his childhood, his time in the Navy, and his life in San Francisco. There are poignant moments that show how his conservative stances in his early life were equal parts a plea for his father's love and a strategy to keep him safe in the closet. Throughout, the mood stays light and touching, with plenty of entertaining anecdotes — exactly what we've come to expect from Maupin. If you liked this, make sure to follow me on Goodreads for more reviews!

  9. 4 out of 5

    David

    Just saw a documentary about the author, so when I saw this book, I bought I immediately. Turns out, he told a good many of these stories in the film, and I read in the acknowledgment that these were stories told onstage before they were put in this book. But I am glad to have the book, because I may not see the doc again, but I can always re-read the book. And despite the fact that these are not all happy memories (whose memories are all happy?), I can imagine re-reading the book with pleasure. Just saw a documentary about the author, so when I saw this book, I bought I immediately. Turns out, he told a good many of these stories in the film, and I read in the acknowledgment that these were stories told onstage before they were put in this book. But I am glad to have the book, because I may not see the doc again, but I can always re-read the book. And despite the fact that these are not all happy memories (whose memories are all happy?), I can imagine re-reading the book with pleasure. He's just the kind of storyteller whose stories are worthy of repeated "visits," whether on the page, or in a film or TV production. [Note: Someone please hurry up and make a movie of "Mary Ann in Autumn" starring Laura Linney, for goodness sake!] If you are already a fan, I'm sure you will read and enjoy this. Even if you are not already a fan, this is a really good read, highly recommended.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Heather Fineisen

    This memoir is hit and miss. Some of the chapterscreally resonated with me and some didn't. Maupin can tell a story and he shines when writing about his family or his inspiration for Tales of the City. I found his Navy recollections my least favorite. There is some famous names peppered throughout-- Jesse Helms, Rock Hudson, Christopher Isherwood, Harvey Milk--and I like Maupin the activist. I met him at a reading in San Francisco before I had read any of his work, finding him charming and witty This memoir is hit and miss. Some of the chapterscreally resonated with me and some didn't. Maupin can tell a story and he shines when writing about his family or his inspiration for Tales of the City. I found his Navy recollections my least favorite. There is some famous names peppered throughout-- Jesse Helms, Rock Hudson, Christopher Isherwood, Harvey Milk--and I like Maupin the activist. I met him at a reading in San Francisco before I had read any of his work, finding him charming and witty. I devoured his work after that reading and found his story telling fun and addictive.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Simon

    Armsitead Maupin's memoir is a book I have been looking for all year and it did not disappoint. With all the warmth, humour, heartbreak and hope we have come to love from his Tales of the City series, Maupin turns to his youth until his early thirties and shares the memories of families, friendships and affairs that led him from North Carolina to San Francisco (via Vietnam) and the city that he fell in love with and created his muse. It is a joyous memoir which also reads a love letter to his pa Armsitead Maupin's memoir is a book I have been looking for all year and it did not disappoint. With all the warmth, humour, heartbreak and hope we have come to love from his Tales of the City series, Maupin turns to his youth until his early thirties and shares the memories of families, friendships and affairs that led him from North Carolina to San Francisco (via Vietnam) and the city that he fell in love with and created his muse. It is a joyous memoir which also reads a love letter to his parents and their imperfect yet impactful relationship. I loved it.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    Fantastic memoir from the author of Tales of the City. Maupin is an icon in the gay community, specifically in San Francisco in the 70s & 80s. I was surprised to learn that he spent the first 25 or so years of his life as a republican in the south. His “life” did not begin for some time. The journey from there to here was an interesting one, as were the tales of his own city life. He is incredibly funny and sentimental and his writing is wonderful. There was a bit too much covering his militar Fantastic memoir from the author of Tales of the City. Maupin is an icon in the gay community, specifically in San Francisco in the 70s & 80s. I was surprised to learn that he spent the first 25 or so years of his life as a republican in the south. His “life” did not begin for some time. The journey from there to here was an interesting one, as were the tales of his own city life. He is incredibly funny and sentimental and his writing is wonderful. There was a bit too much covering his military years for me, otherwise I’d have rated it 5 stars. He is unforgettable.

  13. 4 out of 5

    elizabeth roberts-zibbel

    A solid, well-written memoir, though I had expected less time spent on his conservative youth and more on his antics in San Francisco and the rise of AIDS. It felt kind of impersonal at times, like a very long speech. Friendships with famous people were also explained and (it felt like) defended in a lot of detail. Maybe this book was written in answer to criticisms and questions about parts of his life rather than something he wanted to do, since in a way the Tales of the City books and The Nig A solid, well-written memoir, though I had expected less time spent on his conservative youth and more on his antics in San Francisco and the rise of AIDS. It felt kind of impersonal at times, like a very long speech. Friendships with famous people were also explained and (it felt like) defended in a lot of detail. Maybe this book was written in answer to criticisms and questions about parts of his life rather than something he wanted to do, since in a way the Tales of the City books and The Night Listener function pretty well as memoirs. Questions / statements like “Why did you pose for a photo with Richard Nixon?” “Did you really advocate for not desegregating schools?” “What’s this I hear about Jesse Helms?” “Hey, outing Rock Hudson when he was dying wasn’t cool.” “I think you were more an acolyte and groupie of Christopher Isherwood, not a real friend.” All of this is explained, although he never renounced his work on the right wing side of things. Maybe we’re just meant to assume that of course he doesn’t think that way anymore, that was just to secure Daddy’s love, even though his only black character in “Tales” was so poorly written that in response to criticism he ended up making her be literally a white woman pretending to be black to score exotic modeling jobs. Anyway.... I think all the Tales of the City books are fun and wonderful and I’m not meaning to sound overly critical here. The section regarding Harvey Milk’s death, which corresponded with a visit from Maupin’s father and dying mother, was beautiful and moving, and I imagine he felt with this book he was making peace with the two people who still ended up being the most influential of this life. Because despite its name, this memoir is far more about Maupin’s actual biological family than the family he made for himself.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    I LOVE The Tales of the City. I love how trashy, and hilarious, and loving they are. I love their sometimes ridiculousness. I was so sad when I finished reading them. Now with the reboot of the TV show, I have found myself thinking a lot about the characters from the Tales of the City and wondering what came from real life. The answer is much of it. Armistead Maupin has lived a very interesting life. His parents were old school, homophobic, bigoted conservatives who referred to their family hous I LOVE The Tales of the City. I love how trashy, and hilarious, and loving they are. I love their sometimes ridiculousness. I was so sad when I finished reading them. Now with the reboot of the TV show, I have found myself thinking a lot about the characters from the Tales of the City and wondering what came from real life. The answer is much of it. Armistead Maupin has lived a very interesting life. His parents were old school, homophobic, bigoted conservatives who referred to their family house as "built by the slaves in our family." Armistead joined the Navy, fought in VietNam, and worked for Jesse Helms. He is also very gay. He found his chosen family, his "Logical Family," - one of the best coined terms and concepts I have encountered - in San Francisco. He was lovers with Rock Hudson, and friends with Ian McKellan. He had influence in surprising places. He reveals a lot of the origins from some of his characters and plot devices, and I bet he would be an absolute blast to have a beer with. I really enjoyed this one.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Allison

    It may not be 5 stars for everyone else, but if you love Armistead Maupin (like I do) I don't know how you can't love this book. I had no idea Armistead came from such a conservative background and learned so much and found the last few chapters quite touching.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Tamsinsworld

    A must read for Tales of the City fans

  17. 5 out of 5

    MR ANDREW D LEVEY

    Definitely one of the best autobiographies I’ve read. Touching, funny and enthralling. Highly recommended.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    Armistead Maupin has had a life crammed with events, so it might seem odd that Logical Family is a relatively slim volume. This is a man who goes into a lot of detail about many things, but is also comfortable at letting the years slip past. Logical Family is a satisfying but also elusive work. Logical Family is a memoir that devotes itself largely to the formative years of its author and very little to the time that Maupin found his groove and success. Whether this is the fact that he feels that Armistead Maupin has had a life crammed with events, so it might seem odd that Logical Family is a relatively slim volume. This is a man who goes into a lot of detail about many things, but is also comfortable at letting the years slip past. Logical Family is a satisfying but also elusive work. Logical Family is a memoir that devotes itself largely to the formative years of its author and very little to the time that Maupin found his groove and success. Whether this is the fact that he feels that his later years have been covered through his fiction and general interviews or he’s gearing up for a Logical Family 2 is uncertain. Still, what Maupin chooses to take into account has a depth to it that cannot be underestimated, and more than a few affecting passages. Despite the name - which tends to refer to the families that we choose for ourselves, rather than those we are born into - Maupin focuses on his relations with his parents who, despite their differences of opinion born of a very different time, ultimately supported him in their own ways*. Maupin speaks of the past as if it were a different country, albeit one with a continuity to now. It would have been nice to know more of his siblings - a sister gets a look in as a supporter, a brother as an arch conservative separated by an ideological chasm - but the portraits that Maupin paints of his progenitors and his grandmothers are lasting. Logical Family is intensely personal and yet we learn very little about Maupin’s relationship with his husband, or much of anything that has happened since the eighties. What this book lacks makes for some frustrating dead ends, but that which it does offer tends towards the rich and sweet. *Strange to say this of his father, whose biggest regret was that he wasn’t alive to fight for the South in the Civil War.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Alvin

    This compulsively readable book details Maupin's evolution from the dutiful scion of a toxically uptight and revoltingly rightwing Southern family to fun-loving, gay, liberal San Franciscan. It also includes plenty of funny stories, celebrity gossip, fascinating history, and charming observations about life and love.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Melody

    I loved this book with all my heart. I loved the glimpses into the inspirations for Tales of the City. I loved the fearless way Maupin examines his past. I loved the stories both new and fresh. So great. I barely put it down for a minute.

  21. 4 out of 5

    .

    When this book popped up in my Public Library suggestions for next reads the title caught my eye "Logical Family." Once I read the little blurp I hit the check out button on the audiobook and away I went. I had already fallen in love with the story of Tales of the City from the little glimpses I've gotten from the show, and now I've fallen in love with the author. Sharing his life from repressive southern town to war to finding a home and people who loved ALL of him. Armistean Maupin's cander an When this book popped up in my Public Library suggestions for next reads the title caught my eye "Logical Family." Once I read the little blurp I hit the check out button on the audiobook and away I went. I had already fallen in love with the story of Tales of the City from the little glimpses I've gotten from the show, and now I've fallen in love with the author. Sharing his life from repressive southern town to war to finding a home and people who loved ALL of him. Armistean Maupin's cander and storytelling style is beautifully paced as he shares tears and laughs with readers providing a detailed and sometimes emotional glimpse of life as a gay man in the rapidly changing culture of the last 70ish years. I truly can't wait to get ahold of his novels.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Michael Martin

    For fans of Maupin's "Tales of the City" series, this memoir is an amazing and touching read. It gives you rich background information about his childhood, military years, and eventual move to San Francisco where he started the newspaper serial feature that became "Tales of the City". Expect a lot of surprises, and a lot of very funny observational moments. One of the best recent memoirs I have read. Five stars.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Andie

    I loved Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City series,and I'm happy to say that I loved his memoir of growing up in a conservative southern family and finding his own way to the truth of his life in San Francisco just as much. It's funny, sad, heartwarming and, ultimately, optimistic about the human condition. We need more people like him gracing out planet.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Viktoria

    Excellent memoir. I haven't grown up in the US, so some of the events and sentiments were new to me; and I appreciated getting that new window. Four stars are due to the second stage of the memoir, which almost had me give up. However, the first and the last part of the book were so fascinating, that I was happy to overcome the lull in the middle. Absolutely loved the family relationships - for better and worse. I loved the chapter about Maupin's aunt - I think it was CH.19, almost made me cry. Excellent memoir. I haven't grown up in the US, so some of the events and sentiments were new to me; and I appreciated getting that new window. Four stars are due to the second stage of the memoir, which almost had me give up. However, the first and the last part of the book were so fascinating, that I was happy to overcome the lull in the middle. Absolutely loved the family relationships - for better and worse. I loved the chapter about Maupin's aunt - I think it was CH.19, almost made me cry. Such a worthwhile read!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Marshall

    It is always good to spend time with Armistead Maupin, he is a witty, compassionate and an entertaining writer. I would call myself a fan because I've read all the Tales of City books, his two novels and even the biography of him by Patrick Gale - plus I've seen him talk and got two books signed. Actually that sounds like a super fan! So why wasn't I bowled over by his autobiography? The first problem is that Maupin has drawn heavily on his own life in the Tales series - even the least autobiogra It is always good to spend time with Armistead Maupin, he is a witty, compassionate and an entertaining writer. I would call myself a fan because I've read all the Tales of City books, his two novels and even the biography of him by Patrick Gale - plus I've seen him talk and got two books signed. Actually that sounds like a super fan! So why wasn't I bowled over by his autobiography? The first problem is that Maupin has drawn heavily on his own life in the Tales series - even the least autobiographical book 'Maybe the Moon' was based on a friend of his - so we've heard most of the stories before (and in greater depth). The second problem is that the stories in the biography have been polished and polished again by going on a speaking tour. He has kept what audiences liked and laughed at and dropped the rest. But I read biographies to meet the writer not a carefully honed persona. Thirdly, it might be in his genes and his upbringing to hold back. He repeatedly tells us that Southern women- like his mother and grandmothers - keep secrets to 'protect' their men and it seems Southern gays are no different. It seems strange, because Maupin was 'out' when nobody else was and encouraged others (like Rock Hudoson and Ian McKellan) to come out but today he is very reluctant to upset people. So he soft pedals on his conflicts with his father and brother and we learn NOTHING about his marriage. Strange for a biography of someone who tales are all about the search for love. It would be fascinating to learn something about his experience of the destination too. There is one other disappointment. Many years ago, Maupin wrote about the difference between biological family (that you are born into) and the family you chose - which he calls logical family. By calling his biography 'Logical Family', I would have thought that he'd have told us more about the concept and about the people who make up HIS logical family. My favourite section was about the writer Christopher Isherwood who became his gay grandfather. We hear about his friendships with Ian McKellan and Laura Linney but nothing much about his less famous logical family members. Worse still, he covers the death of his little gay brother Steve Beery in a few lines and we get one sentence about his long term partner Terry Anderson leaving him. So if you enjoy reading Maupin, you'll delight in finding more about the inspiration for his famous characters and how the tales series came about. If you want to meet the man behind the tales, you won't find him here.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Philip

    Many thanks to my colleague Linda for picking up an ARC of Armistead Maupin's memoir, Logical Family: A Memoir. I've been a huge Maupin fan my entire adult life having discovered Tales way back in college and following Armistead through all 9 books in the magical series as well as loving The Night Listener and especially Maybe the Moon. I own all three book adaptations on DVD and look forward to the next incarnation which has been hinted about on Maupin's blog. So I came to the memoir with mount Many thanks to my colleague Linda for picking up an ARC of Armistead Maupin's memoir, Logical Family: A Memoir. I've been a huge Maupin fan my entire adult life having discovered Tales way back in college and following Armistead through all 9 books in the magical series as well as loving The Night Listener and especially Maybe the Moon. I own all three book adaptations on DVD and look forward to the next incarnation which has been hinted about on Maupin's blog. So I came to the memoir with mountains of excitement. Truthfully, I found the beginning dragged for me. It might be the fact that I couldn't wait to get to the San Francisco part. By midway in the book, he arrives, and for me that's when the book begins to take off. The last third of the book has that magical feel his fiction creates for me. I even cried openly during two passages. I was hoping he would speak more about his relationships - especially Terry and Chris. Perhaps there is another memoir in his future or perhaps even for this man who loves to weave personal experience with his fiction, there might be some things he's keeping to himself. 4 out of 5 for my most anticipated book of the season.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ed

    Armistead Maupin can do no wrong in my eyes. I have read the 'Tales of the City' books multiple times and I am pretty sure I've read all the others too. While I was late to the 'Tales' game -- probably early 1990s and around the airing of the first PBS miniseries -- Maupin's works were an important piece of my own journey of self-acceptance and coming out, which only "ended" (spoiler alert: coming out never really ends) three years back when I become part of a dual-husband household. Needless to Armistead Maupin can do no wrong in my eyes. I have read the 'Tales of the City' books multiple times and I am pretty sure I've read all the others too. While I was late to the 'Tales' game -- probably early 1990s and around the airing of the first PBS miniseries -- Maupin's works were an important piece of my own journey of self-acceptance and coming out, which only "ended" (spoiler alert: coming out never really ends) three years back when I become part of a dual-husband household. Needless to say, this memoir is a gem to 'Tales' fans. It was fun to see how the characters and story lines rose from Maupin's personal experiences and learn of what was going on behind the scenes as the serial was published in a San Francisco newspaper. It was also interesting to learn of Maupin's very conservative Southern roots. But as you can see, the review is "only" 4 stars and I will admit I didn't quite connect the chapters on Maupin's service in Vietnam and I selfishly wanted to learn more of his relationships and particularly now-husband, all of which are not given all that much print space. Also, the chapter on Rock Hudson seemed a bit name-droppy and a bit uncomfortable, but still the type of juicy gossip folks often long for and expect in a memoir -- but on the flip side, it provided yet another thinly veiled inspiration for a 'Tales' subplot. Still a must read for Maupin fans. Oh, and a nice touch including 'Letter to Mama' as the epilogue - Maupin's coming out letter from his 'Tales' counterpart Michael Tolliver - which continues to slay me to this day.

  28. 5 out of 5

    John Turner

    Armistead Maupin, former editor of the SF Chronicle and author of the highly popular nine-book series, Tales of the City, writes and publishes his memoir in 2017. I chose to read the memoir first, then read the nine individual novels in order. I thoroughly enjoyed the television series from the 1990s, starring Laura Linney and Olympia Dukakis and set at fictional 28 Barbary Lane in San Francisco. Southern-born, Maupin details his struggles with knowingly being gay, but finding difficulty in admi Armistead Maupin, former editor of the SF Chronicle and author of the highly popular nine-book series, Tales of the City, writes and publishes his memoir in 2017. I chose to read the memoir first, then read the nine individual novels in order. I thoroughly enjoyed the television series from the 1990s, starring Laura Linney and Olympia Dukakis and set at fictional 28 Barbary Lane in San Francisco. Southern-born, Maupin details his struggles with knowingly being gay, but finding difficulty in admitting it to himself or going public, coming out to his family, friends and readers. On his journey, he takes us along for the ride: his teenage angst joking about “getting some p*ssy” with the boys in the locker room; his tour of duty in Vietnam in the “Don’t ask. Don’t tell.” era of the Navy; meeting Nixon in the White House and later leading protests against the government’s anti-gay policies; loosing dozens of friends to AIDS; hobnobbing with Rock Hudson and other closeted celebrities; and the shock of the assassination of Councilman Harvey Milk and Mayor Moscone. Maupin finally finds his acceptance in moving from North Carolina to the liberal city of San Francisco. The characters of the Tales of the City series are patterned after his own life experiences, as well as the real-life characters in his own life. Maupin is a very talented and creative writer, the book sensitive and revealing.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mike Clarke

    A man I made up: oh, sheesh, where to begin. I’ve loved Uncle Armo for as long as I can remember in my gay years, since picking up a stained and disreputable copy of Tales of the City whilst staying at Tony’s student digs in Cambridge in early 1988. I’d been told to amuse myself for a couple of hours so it was either hanging around the bushes on Parker’s Piece, or this and a copy of Marxism Today (which had a lovely ad for Everything But The Girl’s Idlewild album I recall). This is like a warm b A man I made up: oh, sheesh, where to begin. I’ve loved Uncle Armo for as long as I can remember in my gay years, since picking up a stained and disreputable copy of Tales of the City whilst staying at Tony’s student digs in Cambridge in early 1988. I’d been told to amuse myself for a couple of hours so it was either hanging around the bushes on Parker’s Piece, or this and a copy of Marxism Today (which had a lovely ad for Everything But The Girl’s Idlewild album I recall). This is like a warm bath with lots of bubbles, a glass of Tattinger on the side and some scented candles. Bliss, bliss, bliss. If at times the coziness, or the inevitable amour propre that is the elephant trap of autobiography, or the showbiz chums anecdotes, threaten to overwhelm, then the Vietnam War, Harvey Milk’s assassination, or the grim death toll of AIDS brings it back into sharp, angered focus. He’s at his best discussing his family - le rouge et le noir - and which also explains the source of the self-love.....but the tale of his British grandmother in her dotage, followed by the opportunistic but deserved rerun of Michael Tolliver’s 1977 letters home isa masterstroke. Standing on the shoulders of giants maybe, but he’s a tall enough fella himself.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Craig

    Armistead Maupin saved my life. I'm sure he saved the lives of thousands of other young queer people with his work. Warts (outing Rock Hudson) and all, he presents his story of growing up in the South while queer. Interestingly enough, he coined the term "logical family" as opposed to "biological family," and it almost seems like there is a bittersweet deconstruction of this by the end of the book. I always took "biological family" to be a pejorative, as if the biological family prevented authen Armistead Maupin saved my life. I'm sure he saved the lives of thousands of other young queer people with his work. Warts (outing Rock Hudson) and all, he presents his story of growing up in the South while queer. Interestingly enough, he coined the term "logical family" as opposed to "biological family," and it almost seems like there is a bittersweet deconstruction of this by the end of the book. I always took "biological family" to be a pejorative, as if the biological family prevented authenticity of self. Has Maupin recognized that his family was not "less than" here? I'm not sure. Seemingly, both families served him well, albeit not in the way he might have always wanted. On a side note, I am grateful for this book because it turns the tide of losing the stories of our queer elders (felled by age, AIDS, or closets). These stories of our older queer generations MUST be kept and maintained, for the tunnel of history is often darkened by the light of the shiny new thing. LOGICAL FAMILY does this, and reminds us that things have not always been apps or Prep or freedoms. We have miles to go down that tunnel.

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