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16 Reviews
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The one gay memoir which is both touching AND funny
I, like Frank DeCaro, am from Northern New Jersey, and chuckled at the details of his reminiscences (as could anyone, I believe, from New Jersey, or who is gay, or Italian, or who grew up in the 60s and 70s. And isn't that all of us? :)
But the most remarkable thing about the book as a gay man's memoir (and I have read quite a few) is that you don't hit that...
Published on December 29, 1998

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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Low Impact reading - Light and Airy
DeCaro pulled me in with his autobiographical premise, and I never thought twice about not finishing the book. However, I had higher hopes and thought his words might challenge my thinking a bit more than they did. There were few surprises in DeCaro's recollections - just some relatively light humor amidst touches of childhood angst. Easy and pleasant enough to...
Published on August 13, 1998


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The one gay memoir which is both touching AND funny, December 29, 1998
By A Customer
I, like Frank DeCaro, am from Northern New Jersey, and chuckled at the details of his reminiscences (as could anyone, I believe, from New Jersey, or who is gay, or Italian, or who grew up in the 60s and 70s. And isn't that all of us? :)
But the most remarkable thing about the book as a gay man's memoir (and I have read quite a few) is that you don't hit that point two-thirds of the way through where you start a tragic descent into a personal battle with AIDS (that, of course, has been done masterfully before anyway, for example by Paul Monette.)
Instead, the book, which is not told chronologically but is organized instead into themes, hits you unexpectedly and powerfully, the pop culture details artfully concealing a painful truth until the end of the chapter, as they did in one chapter entitled "Desire Under the Forsythias."
I highly recommend "A Boy Named Phyllis," which yielded for me a very pleasurable catharsis of laughter.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very funny and touching book!, December 4, 2003
This is a very well told story of growing up different. I also loved his rememberances of being part of the 70's disco culture.
Autobiographies live or die based on the "tone" and how much the writer shares with the reader. Here the tone is humorous and refreshing - the details are moving.
This is a great book and deserves more attention. I have had my friends all read and love it. :)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very funny, and touching, July 30, 2000
This review is from: A Boy Named Phyllis: A Suburban Memoir (Paperback)
This book was so humorous. Doesn't matter if your straight, gay, male or female. I loved how Frank describes his family members and his life. It was very touching, witty, and it really opened my eyes to what gay boys have to go through to try to feel excepted.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars JERSEY BOY, January 16, 2005
This review is from: A Boy Named Phyllis: A Suburban Memoir (Paperback)
A BOY NAMED PHYLLIS is a wonderfully hilarious, touching, and original coming out memoir about the pains of growing up VERY gay in an Italian-American household in suburban New Jersey. Witty, raucous, peppered with one-liners, wacky situations, and even wackier characters, this debut book is a minefield of belly laughs. Whether he's discussing true love in Coordinate Geometry class, true lust for David Cassidy, the enduring pains of sissy torture, the unrefined glories of 70s pop culture, or the idiosyncrasies of his family, Frank DeCaro has created a frothy memoir readers aren't likely to forget. This memoir is one that paved the way for the tres-gay, silly, and shamelessly confessional works of David Sedaris and Augusten Burroughs - so if you love their work give it a try.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Had me laughing my lips off and left me wanting for more..., October 23, 1996
By A Customer
Frank Decaro explores all of the many issues that every gay man deals with while coming to terms with his own sexual orientation, but he injects humor into some of the most serious of situations and has you laughing 'til you're crying. Every queer in America will identify with Frank's family members and will remember experiencing some of the same feelings -- from the first time that you "touched yourself" to the first time you kissed another boy (and more).

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and his style of writing. The only disappointment was turning the page, realizing that I had reached the end, and thinking, "but that can't be the end. I want closure." Buy it. Read it. You'll love it
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very funny book, January 30, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: A Boy Named Phyllis: A Suburban Memoir (Paperback)
What I liked about this book is that it is a coming out story that doesn't get too heavy. Decaro definately went through some tough times but his attitude is refreshing. He does not dwell on negatives. Anyone can learn from that.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolute gut-buster, April 30, 2013
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This review is from: A Boy Named Phyllis: A Suburban Memoir (Paperback)
I cannot rave about this book enough. I absolutely loved it and made all of my friends read it. My family thought I was completely losing my mind while I was reading this book because, I would break out laughing so hard with every turn of the page. Bravo to Frank DeCaro; you wrote a masterpiece that the world so desperately needed for a good laugh!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best Trip Back to New Jersey I ever took., June 4, 2014
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Frank DeCaro's memoir is the funniest book I have ever read. His story of growing up a chubby gay boy in N.J. starts at the time I escaped Jersey in the mid '60s to get away from the same Italian American suburban oppression.

Frank's observations of Italian American life proved to me that nothing ever changes in NJ. I had the same mother and grandmother in the 50's as he did in the 70's. I'm now even old enough to be his mother if I had gotten knocked up a few years before I actually did.

His words made me laugh so hard I wet my pants; something our mothers had in common too. I cried tears from too much laughter and tears for the pain he endured from small world bullies and his own family who loved him put could not accept who he really was. I identified completely. I also discovered we are sort of related through marriage. You can take us kids our of Jersey but never Jersey out of us kids.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Humorous quick read, May 15, 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: A Boy Named Phyllis: A Suburban Memoir (Paperback)
Several times when reading this book of reminiscences by a man who escaped uniform suburbia to become an openly gay New York writer, I laughed out loud. I appreciate any book that can inspire a reader to do that; the author has a very funny, succinct writing style. I also appreciate books about people who are other than "mainstream," so I mostly enjoyed this one. However, as a heterosexual female, I didn't appreciate the writer's graphic descriptions of just what he likes (or liked as a teenager) to do with his male partners. When readers are trying to broaden their minds by choosing books about people not exactly like themselves, that kind of detail isn't what they're normally after. If this author has a second book, hopefully he's gotten that type of thing out of his system.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great read, December 28, 2005
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Lucysmamma (North Carolina) - See all my reviews
This is an excellent book...one of my favorite memoirs. It was hard to put down and I was sad when it ended. I am surprised it didn't more "buzz" when it first came out. It is light-hearted, funny, and very interesting. It reminds me a little of A Girl Named Zippy. I wish he would write a follow-up book. Definately worth the read!
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A Boy Named Phyllis: A Suburban Memoir
A Boy Named Phyllis: A Suburban Memoir by Frank Decaro (Paperback - June 1, 1997)
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