Logical Family
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 virginity to another man "on the very spot where the first shots of the Civil War were fired." Realizing that the South was too small for him, this son of a traditional lawyer packed his earthly belongings into his Opel GT (including a beloved portrait of a Confederate ancestor), and took to the road in search of adventure. It was a journey that would lead him from a homoerotic Navy initiation ceremony in the jungles of Vietnam to that strangest of strange lands: San Francisco in the early 1970s. Reflecting on the profound impact those closest to him have had on his life, Maupin shares his candid search for his "logical family," the people he could call his own. "Sooner or later, we have to venture beyond our biological family to find our logical one, the one that actually makes sense for us," he writes. "We have to, if we are to live without squandering our lives." From his loving relationship with his palm-reading Grannie who insisted Maupin was the reincarnation of her artistic bachelor cousin, Curtis, to an awkward conversation about girls with President Richard Nixon in the Oval Office, Maupin tells of the extraordinary individuals and situations that shaped him into one of the most influential writers of the last century. Maupin recalls his losses and life-changing experiences with humor and unflinching honesty, and brings to life flesh-and-blood characters as endearing and unforgettable as the vivid, fraught men and women who populate his enchanting novels. What emerges is an illuminating portrait of the man who depicted the liberation and evolution of America’s queer community over the last four decades with honesty and compassion—and inspired millions to claim their own lives.

Logical Family Details

TitleLogical Family
Author
ReleaseOct 3rd, 2017
PublisherHarper
ISBN-139780062391223
Rating
GenreAutobiography, Memoir, Nonfiction, Biography, Glbt, Queer, Biography Memoir

Logical Family Review

  • Jill Meyer
    January 1, 1970
    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".
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  • Monika
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Janet
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • David
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Allison
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Philip
    January 1, 1970
    Many thanks to my colleague Linda for picking up an ARC of Armistead Maupin's memoir, Logical Family: A Memoir. I've been a huge Maupin fan my entire adult life having discovered Tales way back in college and following Armistead through all 9 books in the magical series as well as loving The Night Listener and especially Maybe the Moon. I own all three book adaptations on DVD and look forward to the next incarnation which has been hinted about on Maupin's blog. So I came to the memoir with mount Many thanks to my colleague Linda for picking up an ARC of Armistead Maupin's memoir, Logical Family: A Memoir. I've been a huge Maupin fan my entire adult life having discovered Tales way back in college and following Armistead through all 9 books in the magical series as well as loving The Night Listener and especially Maybe the Moon. I own all three book adaptations on DVD and look forward to the next incarnation which has been hinted about on Maupin's blog. So I came to the memoir with mountains of excitement. Truthfully, I found the beginning dragged for me. It might be the fact that I couldn't wait to get to the San Francisco part. By midway in the book, he arrives, and for me that's when the book begins to take off. The last third of the book has that magical feel his fiction creates for me. I even cried openly during two passages. I was hoping he would speak more about his relationships - especially Terry and Chris. Perhaps there is another memoir in his future or perhaps even for this man who loves to weave personal experience with his fiction, there might be some things he's keeping to himself. 4 out of 5 for my most anticipated book of the season.
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  • June
    January 1, 1970
    I laughed, I cried. What more can you ask for?
  • Kevin
    January 1, 1970
    Armistead Maupin is an extraordinary storyteller, and fans of his novels (including the nine-volume Tales of the City saga) will rejoice that he's finally written a memoir. While most of Logical Family focuses on Maupin's youth (or "the thirty-some years it took me to claim my truth"), the action frequently jumps ahead to introduce his husband, Christopher, or to finish up tales about his friendships with Rock Hudson ("buddies with occasional benefits"), Christopher Isherwood, Sir Ian McKellen ( Armistead Maupin is an extraordinary storyteller, and fans of his novels (including the nine-volume Tales of the City saga) will rejoice that he's finally written a memoir. While most of Logical Family focuses on Maupin's youth (or "the thirty-some years it took me to claim my truth"), the action frequently jumps ahead to introduce his husband, Christopher, or to finish up tales about his friendships with Rock Hudson ("buddies with occasional benefits"), Christopher Isherwood, Sir Ian McKellen (the two shared a boyfriend a decade apart) and Laura Linney.Maupin details his decades-long evolution from being a very vocal, conservative, Southern Republican to an openly gay civil rights activist as "the slow decay of cherished myths--about politics and race, about love itself--until nothing was left but compost from which something authentic could finally begin to grow." In 1976, a San Francisco newspaper hired him to write a fictional column called "Tales of the City" that would run five days a week and 800 words a day. "My heart was in my throat," writes Maupin. "Sometimes I was writing Wednesday's column on a Monday afternoon." But he had found his voice and his audience.The later pages of LOGICAL FAMILY should be printed on water-resistant paper, as few will be left unmoved when Maupin's father and terminally ill mother visit him in San Francisco the same weekend his friend Harvey Milk is assassinated. This beautifully written and evocative coming-out memoir is audaciously funny, reflective and wistful--and, like Maupin's novels, impossible to put down.
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  • Trish
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 So following on from David Sedaris' diaries, I picked up another memoir from a storytelling gay man who grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina. Armistead Maupin and David Sedaris may have those three things in common but their autobiographical stories are vastly different. I was somewhat primed for Maupin’s memoir – having seen the documentary on his life, The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin, only a few months ago. Primed or spoiled? As readers, we know to always read the book before the movie 3.5 So following on from David Sedaris' diaries, I picked up another memoir from a storytelling gay man who grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina. Armistead Maupin and David Sedaris may have those three things in common but their autobiographical stories are vastly different. I was somewhat primed for Maupin’s memoir – having seen the documentary on his life, The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin, only a few months ago. Primed or spoiled? As readers, we know to always read the book before the movie – but I was not aware of Logical Family when the film screened so did not consider the consequences. And now, here I am, preferring a film over a book. You see, Logical Family is a lovely memoir – bringing together Maupin’s stories of the people and places that have made him the much-loved storyteller he is today. But, for me, the book really lagged in the sections on his time in the Navy (to the point where I was considering not finishing) but then picked up as he moves into his San Francisco and Tales of the City life. I found his interactions and observations with other gay icons, Rock Hudson and Christopher Isherwood, fascinating. But ultimately I came away from it feeling I’d only heard one-hundredth of the story; and the idea of the logical (c/w bio-logical) family is wonderful but not fully explored.
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  • Craig
    January 1, 1970
    Armistead Maupin saved my life. I'm sure he saved the lives of thousands of other young queer people with his work. Warts (outing Rock Hudson) and all, he presents his story of growing up in the South while queer. Interestingly enough, he coined the term "logical family" as opposed to "biological family," and it almost seems like there is a bittersweet deconstruction of this by the end of the book. I always took "biological family" to be a pejorative, as if the biological family prevented authen Armistead Maupin saved my life. I'm sure he saved the lives of thousands of other young queer people with his work. Warts (outing Rock Hudson) and all, he presents his story of growing up in the South while queer. Interestingly enough, he coined the term "logical family" as opposed to "biological family," and it almost seems like there is a bittersweet deconstruction of this by the end of the book. I always took "biological family" to be a pejorative, as if the biological family prevented authenticity of self. Has Maupin recognized that his family was not "less than" here? I'm not sure. Seemingly, both families served him well, albeit not in the way he might have always wanted.On a side note, I am grateful for this book because it turns the tide of losing the stories of our queer elders (felled by age, AIDS, or closets). These stories of our older queer generations MUST be kept and maintained, for the tunnel of history is often darkened by the light of the shiny new thing. LOGICAL FAMILY does this, and reminds us that things have not always been apps or Prep or freedoms. We have miles to go down that tunnel.
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  • Aj
    January 1, 1970
    Excellent memoir covering Maupins early days, striving to be the Young Conservative that will please his father, through his military service and on to his blossoming in San Francisco. A must-read for Maupin fans, and/or people interested in LGBTQ history, as Maupin has seen much of a critical era up-close and first-hand. Filled with great stories, as one would imagine from a talented writer who is/was friends with Rock Hudson, Ian McKellen, Christopher Isherwood, Laura Linney, Robin Williams an Excellent memoir covering Maupins early days, striving to be the Young Conservative that will please his father, through his military service and on to his blossoming in San Francisco. A must-read for Maupin fans, and/or people interested in LGBTQ history, as Maupin has seen much of a critical era up-close and first-hand. Filled with great stories, as one would imagine from a talented writer who is/was friends with Rock Hudson, Ian McKellen, Christopher Isherwood, Laura Linney, Robin Williams and more.
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  • Jeff
    January 1, 1970
    A Great BookI have read all of the Tales of the City books. In Logical Family, the author explains the inspirations for the characters and events. Armistead Maupin relives his life and his acension as a very good author. His relationship with his family is funny, touching, and a little sad.I highly recommend this book.
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  • John Carter
    January 1, 1970
    MemoriesThis memoir brought back many memories of my life in San Francisco from 1976 to 1981. Gratuitous name dropping was distracting. The recollections of the city’s unique residents was much more enjoyable. I miss those parrots.
  • Phil Devereux
    January 1, 1970
    Another perfect book from my all-time favourite author. Even when telling the stories of his own life, he manages to effortlessly bring in humour, pathos, suspense and surprises. As always, my only complaint is that I want more! Absolutely sublime.
  • Patti
    January 1, 1970
    A great read for anyone familiar with Tales of the City series. This fascinating memoir is historical and great epilogue to the 11 novels he’s written since the 1980’s.
  • Armando C.
    January 1, 1970
    There is nothing better than then the words of Armistead Maupin. His words are comfort. His words are warmth. And his words seep into your soul.
  • Susan Bell
    January 1, 1970
    Wonderful-funny and touching.
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