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The Best Little Boy in the World Grows Up Hardcover – August 25, 1998


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 268 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; 1st edition (August 25, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375501118
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375501111
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,589,444 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In 1973 Andrew Tobias published The Best Little Boy in the World under the pseudonym John Reid in order to avoid telling people (including his parents) that he was gay. Since then, he's gone on to become a bestselling finance writer (The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need) and columnist for Worth magazine. "Much of my life," writes Tobias, "the context of this book notwithstanding, has had little to do with being gay...." This may seem like an odd statement to find in the sequel to one of the major gay memoirs of the late 20th century. Yet it's also perhaps the point: as Tobias has "grown up" and fully accepted his sexuality, it has become so natural to him that were it not for other people's attitudes there would be almost no reason to call attention to it.

In this memoir, Tobias avoids discussing his sexuality in detail, and apologizes for even the occasional indirect remarks he makes to get around talking about sex. Instead, he covers his emotional relationships and the significant advances for gays and lesbians in American society that he has both witnessed and experienced since 1973. He writes in a charming, conversational style, frequently following digressions and then forcing himself back on track. Tobias is lavish in his praise of those he admires, including Bill and Hillary Clinton (who have "done more than anyone in the history of the world for gay and lesbian people"), and tries to see the good in those with whom he profoundly disagrees. The Best Little Boy in the World Grows Up is a thoughtful, self-assured memoir that shows that one way to start making the world a better place is to become at peace with oneself. --Ron Hogan

From Publishers Weekly

A quarter of a century ago, shortly after receiving his MBA from Harvard, Tobias wrote The Best Little Boy in the World. Already established as a finance writer (The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need), he decided to write his account of growing up gay under the name John Reid. The book's publication and reception led Tobias to question his closeted life and slowly undertake the careful and selective coming-out process that is the crux of this loosely spun and overly anecdotal memoir. Via accounts of his coming-out experiences with family, friends and colleagues and various trials and tribulations of dating and relationships, Tobias sketches the shifting landscape of homophobia in America. Tobias's journey encompasses the closeted '60s at Harvard to gay Fire Island in the '70s, to AIDS and the rise to power of Bill Clinton (for whom Tobias reserves his greatest accolades). While Tobias writes with a healthy dose of self-deprecating humor and sarcasm, the endless encomiums by supportive liberals or powerful gay men as they broke down the barriers of homophobia becomes tedious. The recurrent message?basically "wow! we've come a long way!"?is obvious. And if Tobias's enthusiasm for society's greater tolerance is refreshing, his outlook from the top of the social ladder is somewhat narrow and the tone tends to be self-congratulatory. Tobias is most at home when writing about the intricacies of relationships, wittily depicting the subtleties and nuances of friendship, romance, lust and love for modern gay men.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

I would rate the first half four stars, the second half two stars.
Petronius
I wish I had some of Tobias's connections or his disposable income, but in the end I felt like I liked the guy.
Mark Meyer
This book is boring, unnecessary, grandiose, and lacking in any editorial judgement.
Samuel V. Stevens IV

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Danny Heller (dannyheller@hotbot.com) on September 20, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Having just finished this delightful book, I decided to post a review. As I read over the comments about this book, I was taken aback by the harshness and negativity of so many of the reviews and the intensely personal nature of the comments, many of which appear to spring from jealousy of Tobias' financial success, and have nothing to do with the intrinsic merits of his book. They constitute what I would call an ad hominem attack on its author. The man's work is fair game, but please refrain from attacking him personally.
As a reader who found "The Best Little Boy in the World" to be a seminal (no pun intended!) work in his own coming out process, I was quite looking forward to the sequel. I wanted to find out how The Best Little Boy had fared during the twenty-five years since the book was first published. Also, since learning a few years ago that "John Reid" was a nom de plume for Andrew Tobias, whose financial books I had enjoyed, I wanted to see how he had integrated his two personas. And I must say, he has done so quite nicely!
This book is a wonderful read. Andrew Tobias has written an entertaining narrative that is well worth anyone's time. I read the book in one weekend, and found myself breaking out in laughter time and time again - his anecdotes resonate with me.
In fact, I enjoyed this book so much that I went out and bought "My Vast Fortune", Tobias' account of his various business ventures and misadventures, and found it delightful and informative as well. It includes the author's tragicomic accounts of locking horns with Ralph Nader over no-fault auto insurance and launching an anti-smoking campaign in Russia. (I'll write a review of that book next!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 20, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Like millions of other gay males, I read Tobias' first memoir, TBLBITW, 20 years ago during a personal crisis in my life (coming to terms with my sexuality). It was a watershed moment in my life, and the book helped me to deal with my feelings towards my sexuality. I discovered his second memoir (TBLBITW Grows Up) recently during another personal crisis (midlife crisis). Like the first book, I couldn't put the thing down, and in fact read the entire book in the bookstore one afternoon! Tobias' style is very captivating and easy to read. The down-to-earth persona so evident in his first book seemed to be missing in the second. While I sometimes felt as if the author was "name-dropping" as I read this book, it made me laugh and cry as I related to the content of the book. While the second book did not help me deal with my current personal crisis, as the first one did, it never the less was enjoyable to read. Footnote-When I saw in this book that the author had an email adress, I sent a congratulatory note to him, indicating that I enjoyed the second book, and explained that the first one had a profound impact on my life. He replied back something along the lines of "how nice...I was just made Treasurer of the Democratic National Committee, please send your donation to...." That's why I think that TBLBITW may have grown-up, but he hasn't matured. I'd still recommend the book. Especially to gay males still struggling with their identity at midlife
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 28, 2001
Format: Paperback
I enjoyed TBLBITW immensely, but it appears the Little Boy's head grew at a greater rate than his body. I got tired of reading this book after I saw Arianna Huffington's name mentioned for the fifth time. OK, Mr. Tobias you know famous people; get over yourself and write something interesting. If there is to be a third book I would like the title to be "The Best Little Boy In The World Comes Down To Earth". Perhaps Ed Koch and Rudi Giuliani could both parachute in to his pool party at the release!
And so it goes on.... "My Vast Fortune"... it would be funny if we thought it would be in the least bit self-deprecating. But alas head-swell is apparently still untreatable.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 23, 1998
Format: Hardcover
TBLBITW was an epiphany for many young gay males, myself included. But "Grows UP" is more anecdote than revelation, more "and then what happened was," rather than "and then I learned/discovered." That's the bad news. The good news is that Tobias has lost none of his wit or charm, and he is an engaging writer. To the younger gay audience, this volume is likely to be a bit tedious to read through. But to those of us who lived through the times and conditions Tobias so accurately protrays, it is still a revealing look into the gay lifestyle. When TBLBITW ended, the closet was still securely closed. In "Grows Up," Tobias does point out that we ourselves kept it closed, and that the door could be opened.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Davis on July 12, 2000
Format: Paperback
So now we know! John Reid is really Andrew Tobias! If you loved The Best Little Boy, don't miss a chance to meet the grown man.
I wish I could give this work 5-stars, but I just can't. The book is composed of two kinds of writing. There is the private life of Andrew Tobias, and then there is his public/political activity. I enjoyed reading about his private life; I don't share many of his political views. As an example of what I liked, there was a moving account of how he and his spouse selected their wedding rings. On the other hand, the book actually includes a speech by President Clinton. I didn't expect that.
This book is worth reading if you loved the BLBITW. It's a shame it doesn't focus more on the authors personal relationships and private insights.
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