The Best Little Boy in the World (Modern Library)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

The Best Little Boy in the World (Modern Library)

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  857 ratings  ·  40 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 1977)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Best Little Boy in the World, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Best Little Boy in the World

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,296)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
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...more
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
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...more
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...more
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.
This book changed my life. It was as if I were reading my own story on the pages. I will never forget it.
Michael Holland
This was my coming out book, and I was so happy that there was a narrator who was so much like me!
Joe Miguez
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
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
Sidonie Kervau
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...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
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...more
Craig Francisco
This was the book that made me come out. It told me I can be just like every other guy out there....but I was more fabolous! Don't tell anyone.
Hank Stuever
Formative or simply informative? I think I've blocked it out.
May 19, 2014 Heather marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Derek recommended
Sep 14, 2007 Larry rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Nov 09, 2008 Dave rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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.
I read this book back in 1998 and now have a completely different take on it. It was not as exciting this time and I look at it from a psychological standpoint now.
Ryan Schoen
Could have been 5 stars if the second half were nearly as good as the first. And apparently he already edited a lot out of the second half of the 1st edition!
When I read this book I was amazed how much I identified with the character and how he dealt with family and professional issues.
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.
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.
In another day, another age, this stood out as a unique and very important book. Crazy as that may seem today.
Laurie Burkland
Mar 06, 2008 Laurie Burkland rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone queer or questioning
A life changing read. It helped me come to grips with my own sexuality and helped me be brave.
Matthew Simmons
It's been so long since I've read it, it probably would be a good idea to go back and read it...
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 43 44 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Becoming a Man: Half a Life Story
  • Prayers for Bobby: A Mother's Coming to Terms with the Suicide of Her Gay Son
  • Like People in History
  • The Boys on the Rock
  • The Joy of Gay Sex
  • Changing Tides
  • The Celluloid Closet: Homosexuality in the Movies
  • The Front Runner (Harlan's Story, #1)
  • Comfort and Joy
  • Stranger at the Gate: To Be Gay and Christian in America
  • The Beautiful Room is Empty
  • The Dreyfus Affair: A Love Story
  • The Beauty of Men
  • The Men from the Boys
  • Martin and John
  • The Coming Storm
  • Eighty-Sixed
  • The Lost Language of Cranes
The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need The Best Little Boy in the World Grows Up My Vast Fortune: An Investor�s Fiscal Triumphs and Money Misadventures Fire And Ice: The Story Of Charles Revson The Man Who Built The Revlon Empire The Invisible Bankers: Everything the Insurance Industry Never Wanted You to Know

Share This Book

“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
More quotes…