When I was younger, Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City series helped me understand a bigger world where gay people live and have fun but are, deep down, just like their straight counterparts. Accomplished British author, Patrick Gale, wrote a mini-biography of Maupin’s life to date. It’s an interesting story of where the Tales series came from and I just submitted my review to Amazon.
This is not a typically biography. Patrick Gale and Armistead Maupin are friends and this book grew from many long conversations they had about Armistead’s life. It’s an affectionate portrait of a man who not only said it’s OK to be gay but it’s wrong not to be up front about the fact.
The book is like a gentle stroll through a life taking gentle turns into different decades and looking at the subject’s Southern American childhood, life in the navy, settling in San Fransisco and starting to write the newspaper serial that would eventually make Armistead famous, Tales of the City. The inspirations for the characters come from the people around Maupin; the situations come from Maupin’s life. Universal subjects of love, sex and friendship are covered as well as celebrity, homophobia and the Hollywood closet.
If you’re a Armistead Maupin fan then you should read this book. If you’ve never read any of this novels then this will provide the background to many of them and you’ll want to read his work. Don’t expect detailed dissection of an author’s life but you will be drawn into the private conversation Gale has with his friend.
A warm biography of a author/activist which puts his work into context.
On this day…
- 2004: Links for 2004-12-21