Logical Family: A Memoir by Armistead Maupin

Logical Family: A Memoir

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...

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Logical Family: A Memoir Reviews

  • 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".

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Miguel

    As memórias de Armistead Maupin, o autor da série de livros Tales of The City, que já vai em nove volumes. Trata-se de um livro extremamente pessoal, no qual o autor expõe-se a si e à sua família, mas trata-se igualmente de um testemunho de um dos pioneiros, nos anos 70 e 80, de algumas das mais importantes lutas pelo reconhecimento dos direitos dos gays e pelo reconhecimento da SIDA como um grave problema de saúde pública que precisava da atenção urgente as autoridades. Maupin fez parte da gera

    As memórias de Armistead Maupin, o autor da série de livros Tales of The City, que já vai em nove volumes. Trata-se de um livro extremamente pessoal, no qual o autor expõe-se a si e à sua família, mas trata-se igualmente de um testemunho de um dos pioneiros, nos anos 70 e 80, de algumas das mais importantes lutas pelo reconhecimento dos direitos dos gays e pelo reconhecimento da SIDA como um grave problema de saúde pública que precisava da atenção urgente as autoridades. Maupin fez parte da geração que inventou a palavra 'activismo' no que toca à comunidade LGBT.

    O estilo de Maupin é inconfundível, para quem conhece e aprecia o autor. Vocabulário simples mas rico e imaginativo, um sentido de humor muito irónico mas ao mesmo tempo carinhoso, uma capacidade incrível de dar vida a situações e personagens.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

    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.

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