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The Best Little Boy in the World Paperback – May 11, 1993


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Frequently Bought Together

The Best Little Boy in the World + The Best Little Boy in the World Grows Up + The Velvet Rage: Overcoming the Pain of Growing Up Gay in a Straight Man's World, Second Edition
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reprint edition (May 11, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345381769
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345381767
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #163,487 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

When The Best Little Boy in the World was first published in 1973, Andrew Tobias could write about what it had felt like to begin to accept his homosexuality, but he couldn't bring himself to sign his own name to the book, for fear of embarrassing his parents. And so it was "John Reid" who became a hero to the thousands of gay males who found in this memoir a mirror for their own experiences.

Although the book appears rambling at times, Tobias always has a clear sense of where he wants to take readers with the story. He treats his closeted adolescence and college years, and his stumbling first attempts at "doing a thing" with other gay men, with a self-effacing humor that exposes his pain without descending into self-pity. And if his life seems fairly ordinary, apart from the sexual awakening ... well, that was the whole point. "You like and respect us when you don't realize we're gay," he writes in a new introduction, "so now please just continue to like and respect us once you do realize. It's not that big a deal." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap

The classic account of growing up gay in America.
"The best little boy in the world never had wet dreams or masturbated; he always topped his class, honored mom and dad, deferred to elders and excelled in sports . . . . The best little boy in the world was . . . the model IBM exec . . . The best little boy in the world was a closet case who 'never read anything about homosexuality.' . . . John Reid comes out slowly, hilariously, brilliantly. One reads this utterly honest account with the shock of recognition." The New York Times
"The quality of this book is fantastic because it comes of equal parts honesty and logic and humor. It is far from being the story of a Gay crusader, nor is it the story of a closet queen. It is the story of a normal boy growing into maturity without managing to get raped into, or taunted because of, his homosexuality. . . . He is bright enough to be aware of his hangups and the reasons for them. And he writes well enough that he doesn't resort to sensationalism . . . ." San Francisco Bay Area Reporter

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Customer Reviews

Bottom line: the diary of a gay man you don't want to know.
lazza
None of that would matter, though, if I were not so offended by John Reid's (aka Andrew Tobias') rampant egomania.
Reader
I found this book to be one of the most insightful and helpful books I have ever read.
Brian H. Hays

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By F. Gentile on June 27, 2002
Format: Paperback
I really enjoyed this book when it came out (no pun....).If you're looking for the gay mans Bible, this is not it. It does not necessarily have the dignity of Paul Monette, nor the "perfect love" of "The Front Runner." It is simply one mans quite amusing take on his growing awareness of being gay. I see alot of people are ready to stone Andrew Tobias for what they perceive as his hypocrisy. On the contrary, he was honest enough to admit his, at times, somewhat shallow and cavalier attitude. It's always easier to say what everyone wants to hear, he simply told it as it was. I find I don't have to agree with EVERY thought or viewpoint a person has in order to maybe learn something, or, at the very least, be entertained by them. While Andrew Tobias may have personality flaws (who doesn't ?), I hardly see him as the self-hating, superficial, elitist snob that some are trying to paint him as. He is simply a HUMAN BEING, just like a real person!! There's rainbow flag waving politically active gays, and ones who lead a quieter but no less meaningful life. That is their right to make that choice about what they're comfortable with. I know one thing, I have found gay people, no matter where they lie on that scale, to band together and be supportive of each other when need be. Yes, in the gay world, as in the "normal" world (whatever that is), there is a segment who are very image conscious. So what? Hey, sometimes life ain't fair. If you're going to hate everyone who had a more priviledged upbringing than you, and is "prettier", than the majority of us would be miserable ALL the time. On a scale of one to ten, I'm probably a five, maybe a six on a REALLY good day. The chances of a Ten wanting to go out with me are probably non-existant, IF I was ever to give it a thought, which I don't.Read more ›
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Brian H. Hays on November 16, 1999
Format: Paperback
I found this book to be one of the most insightful and helpful books I have ever read. Although Mr. Tobias (aka John Reid) came out in the 70's, when it was far less safe or politically correct to do so, many of his emotions and internal struggles remain true to young people who are today struggling with their identies. Although at times Mr. Tobias has a tendancy to ramble in his writing, this only adds to the book's charm. It is a must read for gay and straight people alike. For the former it teaches that they are not alone in their sturggles, for the latter it teaches acceptance and understanding. It is truly a modern classic about a subject much too rarely discussed.
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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 26, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Best Little Boy In The World stands as proof that not every personal experience should be shared with the rest of the world. Written shortly after the author came out during the mid and late 1970's, this short volume purportedly chronicles John Reid's acceptance of his sexuality and his initial efforts to find a place for himself in the gay world. At the conclusion of the book, I could not help but be struck by how little progress he had actually made in either regard. What is abundantly apparent, however, is Mr. Reid's need for self-aggrandizement at the expense of his fellow gay and lesbians and to separate himself from those same persons. Throughout his book Mr. Reid openly distains gays who are either "too nelly" or "too butch." Perhaps Mr. Reid fears that these characteristics might appear in his own behavior and thereby threaten the security of his career as an up-and-coming executive with IBM. By any account I could not help but believe that Mr. Reid would not hesitate to deny the truth of his sexuality should that fact ever pose a threat to his material and professional success. Further evidence of the author's failure to come to grips with his sexual orientation is to be found in his occasional theorizing as to the origins of homosexuality in some men. For instance, he posits that proportionally the gay population is not as physically attractive as the heterosexual population and that gay men therefore became gay out of their awareness of and sense of inferiority resulting from their inadequacies in this regard. Elsewhere Mr. Reid treats the reader to a similar musing that a person's being assigned an odd name such as Oscar in combination with his being small in stature contributed to that person's becoming gay. Of course, Mr.Read more ›
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41 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Reader on December 29, 2000
Format: Paperback
It is an interesting tale and a common one I am sure. There are portions that resonate with all gay men but the writing itself is at times, cliched and sloppy. None of that would matter, though, if I were not so offended by John Reid's (aka Andrew Tobias') rampant egomania. Even within his constricting closet, he passes judgement on those he deems too gay, not macho enough, not as attractive as he is. It's difficult to sympathize with his struggle. He yearns for freedom and acceptance while blindly condemning the "less blessed" around him. I find it repugnant and after reading about Mr. Tobias' "young stud pool parties" in New York Magazine a few years back, it seems that not much has changed. He's older now but still fit and tan and, oh yeah, very rich. God Bless America. The sequel is called "The Best Little Boy In The World Grows Up". I have not read it but I am doubtful. For me, this book in some way celebrates the elitism that is so overwhelming in the gay community. That is what is truly hurtful and awful about the subculture and what it's teaching young gay men.
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