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The Best Little Boy in the World (Modern Library)

3.87  ·  Rating Details ·  1,175 Ratings  ·  52 Reviews
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 th ...more
Hardcover, 247 pages
Published August 25th 1998 by Modern Library (first published January 1st 1973)
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The sexually repressed childhood and adolescence of now-famous journalist, columnist, and investment guru Andrew Tobias [writing as John Reid] must have been awful for him, as it was for many of us. Tobias makes us sympathize, and we recognize much of our own early lives in his. In these respects his book is largely successful.

Certainly it has been read extensively since 1973 by gay people for inspiration to come-out and by straight people to understand them. There is no doubt it has had a mostl
Aug 08, 2012 MBJ rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was really excited about reading it because it was voted as one of the 50 best gay books by AE readers, many call it a classic and it had an interesting title but it turned out very disappointing for me and I guess that shows you how very different people's tastes can be.

-if you liked this book I advise you not to read the rest of my review-
I didn't like it at all and could barely finish it.
I was hoping that leaving it for a while and getting back to it would help and that I might find it bear
From the start of his memoir Reid (rather, Tobias) is engaging, warm and funny in writing about growing up and the eventual dissonance he felt between what was expected from him by his parents, society, etc. and the reality of his wanting to "be cowboys"* with other boys. There was no end-of-the-world 'why me?' boo-hooing, which is almost always exasperating to read/hear about however justified, which was a huge plus and a real rarity I've found. Tobias did come off as conceited (in a book calle ...more
Jul 08, 2012 Songfire rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: autobiography
Egads. Welcome once again to the mind of an over-privileged rich white guy (and WHEEE! He's a self-hating homophobic gay, how's that for an upgrade?!)


Mind you, it's not because he's worried about getting dumped by his friends and family - all this special snowflake is worried about is no longer being "THE BEST LITTLE BOY IN THE WORLD"(TM) and of course his career. He is completely incapable of emphasizing with anyone/anything that doesn't immediately affect *himself*, and only worries
Sep 28, 2007 Brian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Honest, funny, and poignant. Many, if not most currently middle-aged gay men will find much of their own growing-up and coming-out experiences captured quite neatly, with frank humor and a touch of the bittersweet. The author's early sexual exploits may be more numerous, and perhaps bordering closer to what some may consider "sordid" than many people have experienced, the associated thoughts, feelings and responses are familiar to nearly everyone.

Those with a close relationship with an adult gay
Feb 24, 2012 Keith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book changed my life. It was as if I were reading my own story on the pages. I will never forget it.
Samy Rose
a classic, but I don't see it. Author thinks he came out of the closet. More like he poked his nose out and felt around a bit. Never gets into a full relationship.
Michael Holland
Oct 23, 2011 Michael Holland rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my coming out book, and I was so happy that there was a narrator who was so much like me!
Fr Meyers
Dec 17, 2016 Fr Meyers rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this when written under a pen name (before Tobias fully came out). I was impressed by its apparent honesty.

I had previously read many of Tobias's financial books.

Once I learned he was the true author of TBLBITW, I was in more of a tumult that someone so financially successful still felt the need to hide their true self.

Although I had been out for nearly 10 years, it gave me a stronger commitment to knowing (for me), I had made the right choice.

Now 44 years later, I am still glad for that
That was a really interesting read, often funny.
The narrator (and author) is not entirely likeable, yet we have so many common points, that I actually admired him. It takes balls to paint yourself as a jerk.
I haven't managed to say all I wanted to or to say it properly or in a way that would inspire the indignation I wanted you to feel.

Indeed, you did not. I'm not sure what I was supposed to feel indignant at: your behaviour? the oppression of homosexual? homosexuality? Often-times the narrator
Carlos Mock
Dec 31, 2014 Carlos Mock rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The Best Little Boy in The World by Andrew Tobias - written as John Reid

This is the story of a boy that is the best little boy in the world (BLBITW) as measured by all standards - great grades, great in sports and bound to Yale. However he hides a secret: he's gay. So he proceeds to tells us the story of his coming out.

Some coming out stories are classics that transcend the test of time. This book is not. Just like Tobias/Reid spends lots of times reciting Spartacus' guide to gay life in new Yor
Joe Miguez
Feb 15, 2013 Joe Miguez rated it really liked it
A breezy, but important, book about What It's Like To Be Gay...or at least what it was like in the early '70s. Reid - the pen name of financial writer Andrew Tobias - describes his journey from childhood to coming out to learning to live "out" with humor and insight. This book was ahead of its time in its boldness, and it's sad that many of the same basic, logical, common-sense arguments for equality for gays and lesbians that still must be made today were in fact being made quite publicly back ...more
Apr 12, 2011 Mark rated it it was ok
It's definitely refreshing to read a coming out memoir with such a lively sense of humor at work. The angst of dealing with the sexual self for the first time is honestly dealt with, but it isn't related with the usual sense of doom. The author accurately conveys that mindset of youth--with all its intensity and changebility. I admired the author's honesty. I think, however, that I would have gotten a lot more out of this book if I'd read it earlier in my life. Although the jolts of recognition ...more
I tend to appreciate autobiographies about coming out. I like the introspection, the grappling with inner turmoil, and the tremendous courage involved. Originally written in 1973 under a pseudonym, The Best Little Boy in the World has some of the trappings of that era (the baths, a more hidden social culture, etc.) but also the timelessness of discovering and standing up for who you are. The updated version of the book not only uses the author's real name, but has been slightly revised and tight ...more
Jul 02, 2009 Beth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
What I'd heard about this book is that it's classic gay memoir, and that intrigued me. In general, I find gay literature from the 50s-70s really interesting. This book was very good through the first 3/4 of the story. The last 1/4 really dragged; however, the author admits this in his afterword, so I guess he heard that from other readers when it was first published.

I read some reviews for this book on amazon several years ago and most people commented that the writer was very unlikeable. I didn
Sep 13, 2007 Larry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
another great coming of age/out books.I think that a lot of gay men will be able to relate to this book and enjoy this book very much.The author didnt use his own name when he first wrote it now he puts his own name either on the cover or in the author notes. A lot of us were in his position when we came out.
Sep 08, 2010 Emansil rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really loved this book, the story of how he hides his preferences all through his life. Until he can't hide it any more. I found enlightening and sweetly tender. The last 1/4 dragged a bit, but still an excellent read.
Tony Bucci
Jul 21, 2016 Tony Bucci rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book upon coming out to my father on the recommendation of the psychologist we went to see. I do like reading biographies, so I recall this to be an interesting story, although the author was from a much different socioeconomic background than me.
Diego Salvatore
Por fin lo termine ¡Si!
y pues la historia es entretenida y como estilo The Perks, pero el protagonista es así como mega estúpido enserio. totalmente inocente y tonto. era ocurrente, te hacia reír su ignorancia y eso fue lo que hizo el libro entretenido aunque en partes si lo sentí algo pesado.
Laura Siegel
Oct 06, 2011 Laura Siegel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the first book I read when our son came out. I wanted to understand how a young gay man might feel, what his struggles were. Andrew Tobias, now openly out, wrote this under the pseudonym of John Reid. I so appreciated his openness and willingness to tell his fascinating story.
Apr 14, 2009 Andrew rated it it was amazing
Shelves: queer
I know I already rated a different edition of this book, but now that I see there is a Modern Library edition of it, I needed to make a note of some kind so I'd remember to get a copy someday.
Dec 01, 2008 Kendal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's easy to see yourself (or close friends) in this book. To many it will be an "oh, that's me" kind of experience.
Sep 22, 2015 Matthew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the first gay books I ever read. And one of the reasons I'll always be grateful for libraries and for my parents giving me free rein at my local public library.
Mar 21, 2016 Jim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this memoir about growing up gay many years ago. As I recall, it is told with humor and flair.
Sep 24, 2011 Stuart rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In another day, another age, this stood out as a unique and very important book. Crazy as that may seem today.
pan ellington
novel as time capsule, illustrates just how far we've come, particularly with respect to the views we have of ourselves. a bit problematic, as a whole, though. meh.
Feb 20, 2013 Cheryl rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
the first half or three quarters of the book was good. the last bit seemed to be just a list of sexual conquests. boring to me.
Nov 09, 2008 Dave rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: any one freshly out
I read this book after coming out to my family. It really changed my life.
I would/have recommend this book to anyone feeling like noone understands where they are in their life.
Sep 25, 2011 Par rated it it was ok
Although I admire everything Mr. Tobias has achieved, the book left me wanting. I found myself not connecting with his writing and finished the book for the sole purpose of just finishing it.
Michael Joseph
You can read my full review of “The Best Little Boy in the World” at my web site.
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“In both cases, it is the prejudice, not the condition, that does the harm. It may be, as some would have it, that blacks are inherently inferior to whites or that homosexuals are all, by definition, sick. So what? Even if either condition truly is inherently undesirable, no manner of social pressure will turn blacks into whites or gays into straights. Social pressure will only exaggerate the handicap. It is still the prejudice, more than the condition, that does the harm.” 4 likes
“I was terribly intolerant, but they were terribly threatening to me. They were everything I was afraid of becoming.” 1 likes
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