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.
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