The Memoirs of a Beautiful Boy
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The Memoirs of a Beautiful Boy

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3.39 of 5 stars 3.39  ·  rating details  ·  506 ratings  ·  121 reviews
In the Dear John letter Daddy left for Mother and me, on a Saturday afternoon in early June 1996, on the inlaid Florentine table in the front entry of our house, which we found that night upon returning from a day spent in the crème-colored light of Neiman’s, Daddy wrote that he was leaving us because Mother was crazy, and because she’d driven me crazy in a way that perfec...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published January 8th 2008 by St. Martin's Press (first published 2008)
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The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne FrankThe Glass Castle by Jeannette WallsNight by Elie WieselAngela's Ashes by Frank McCourtEat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Best Memoir / Biography / Autobiography
330th out of 2,447 books — 2,762 voters
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Top 100 Gay Novels of the XXI century
223rd out of 406 books — 380 voters


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Community Reviews

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Sonia Reppe
Apr 02, 2008 Sonia Reppe rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people with a sense of humor
Self-centered, childish, dramatic with self-love, using people who care about him as personal entertainment fodder—but not in a mean way— all qualities that make Robert Leleux an interesting character. Throw in an extravagant, gold-digging, Texas big-dealer of a mother and you have domestic dysfunction at its funniest. The core of Leleux's teen-age memoir is about family ties and dysassociations and how one gay boy relates to all that. With large Texas-size doses of humor and hilarious dialogue,...more
Charles
This is an extraordinarily well written memoir about a gay boy growing up in Texas with a larger-than-life mother. Let's just say it struck very close to home, and the writing is just fabulous (and I don't use that word lightly). I had published an excerpt in BLOOM a few years ago, so I feel especially proud that I knew about this book while it was in formation. Robert also created some "trailers" on YouTube which are hilarious.
Laura
Mar 06, 2008 Laura rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone but Ruhi and Cheryl especially
I loved this hysterical book about a gay boy and his over-the-top mother from Texas. I laughed on almost every single page but also ended up reflecting on the value of family and their love and loyalty. A great read I'd highly recommend.
Sarah
This is a delight. I laughed a lot--he's done a great job with some hilarious material.
Kristi
Mar 24, 2008 Kristi rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: I wouldn't
Recommended to Kristi by: NPR, the bastards
If I owned this book, I'd sell it in a heartbeat. Not to spread the joy of its pages, but to get it the hell out of my house.

Leleux is NO David Sedaris (whom I adore!). This "novel" (and I use that term, oh so loosely) was a diary gone wrong. From beginning to end, this "book" screamed ME, ME, LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME AND AT ALL THE PEOPLE WHO THINK I'M AWESOME. It was the most blatant excuse for self-love I've ever seen between end-pages.

I began reading it, believing that it centered around a sl...more
Steve
Everyone should get to find the kind of love that Robert finds . . .
James
I enjoyed this memoir finding it a delightful quotable read, even if it has some stereotypical moments. But the stereotypes are fun; from the over-the-top mother with fake hair to her tres gay son who accompanies her many trips to the mall. The author narrates a wild ride that begins in Petunia, Texas when his father abandons them. Left with few resources the mother finds a man and so does the son. As the memoir unfolds it became an unforgettable coming of age story. The author's writing style w...more
Tammy
This book is hilarious! Robert Leleux's story is like something out of the tv show Arrested Development. A mother who endures the most awful pain (and convinces her son that she's hemorrhaging) to receive plastic surgery and fake hair. Another great bit is the anti climatic response Robert gets when he tells his family that he's gay. Still makes me laugh! I was a bit disappointed with the ending, but all in all, it's a funny story that you will devour in a few days. I couldn't put it down.
Panthergirl
Love, love, loved this book. Aside from not wanting to finish it (it's one of those books you COULD read in a day, but just don't want to!), it has inspired me to write one of my own...I just have to get this goll-darned JOB out of the way.
Louiseowens
the funniest, happiest, most delightful book i've read in ages!!!
Anna Ruth
Apr 13, 2008 Anna Ruth rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Anna Ruth by: New York Times
precious and hilarious.
Patrik
and I Love it!
Bev
When I picked this up at Logos today, I was thinking of David Sheff's "Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction." I didn't remember the title or the author, but I just remembered that it had the words "beautiful boy" in it. And I remember thinking that maybe I might want to read it. So when I sat down and started to read, imagine my surprise to discover that this was a memoir of a young gay boy and his rather odd family, especially his flamboyant mother. This reads like Davi...more
Anita
Once again I feel like a pretty good mom. In the tradition of The Glass Castle, Fat Girl, The Mistress's Daughter, Escape, and other memoirs, this is a middling one. I had a great childhood, and so did my kids. You can blame my mom for me not being a best-selling writer. I used to think that I could die happy if none of my kids were ever on Jerry Springer. Now I think it would be better if none of them ever wrote a memoir of their childhood.
This is in the Running with Scissors category, a gay y...more
manatee
I learned that True Love does exist. I absolutely adored this book because it was so funny and delightful and catty and optimistic. It was hysterically funny and melodramatic. I was quite taken with the author's exaggerated,put upon voice. I loved the depictions of the author's real and adopted families. And to think, such a fascinating author autographed his book for me. This book was a fantastic Christmas present. I am so glad that I read it.

I was so pleased to read a lighthearted book about...more
Phyllis
Thanks to David Sedaris and Augusten Burroughs any gay man with a moderately eccentric family can write a memoir. I think a lot of people wrote this book off for that reason, but Robert Leleux's recollections of his family have a genuine warmth and affection that I found absolutely charming. I was honestly shocked at how much I loved this book. This was one of those rare books I made the effort to read slowly, because I didn't want it to end.
Jennifer
I read this after hearing him speak about his book at the Texas Book Festival. He's a fabulously gay man and he's quite funny in person. His writing is funny, as well. The problem is that while reading I just really really developed a huge dislike of his mother (and to an extent, him). And given that the book is all about his relationship with his mother, it hindered my enjoyment.
M
Jan 18, 2008 M marked it as to-read
Here is what someone passionate about books wrote about this book:
"This exuberant, hyperbolic new memoir runs through the authori's louder-than-life, left-Texas adolescence spent in the shadow of his glorious, bewigged, gold-digging lovable momma. It's darkly funny that readers of David Sedaris and Augusten Burroughs will not want to miss."
Reeve
Mar 04, 2008 Reeve rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes Augusten Burroughs
One of my friends is the aunt of this author. She was distressed by the sarcastic humor, but, not really knowing most of the people in it, I thought it had both heavy sarcasm and a lot of heart. I laughed my way through it and came out touched. If you like Augusten Burroughs you will like this.
Darrell
i LOVED it!!!
Steven
What a hoot! I remember coming across a review of this book and thinking I should read it. Then I forgot about it. A short while back, a friend brought to my attention an article in the New York Times about multitasking by her friend Ruth Pennebaker, in which Robert Leleux is quoted, and it brought it all back to mind. For those keeping score, that's only three degrees of separation!

And possibly less, as it seems that Mr. Leleux and I grew up in small town Texas as gay boys only a dozen years an...more
Joan
Jun 16, 2008 Joan added it
The latest entry in the "growing up gay in a dysfunctional, eccentric southern household" sweepstakes won't get first prize, but it definitely places!

Previously supported by the in-laws, Robert and his mother find their emotional and financial lives in turmoil when his father abandons them for another woman. Like another southern belle who tried to conquer the world dressed in her mother's portières, Jessica calculates that all she needs to do is attract a rich husband, and so she is off to the...more
Jennifer
I'm a huge fan of memoirs -- particularly funny memoirs about messed up childhoods. Think Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs or some of David Sedaris's books about his childhood. This memoir is along those lines, and it was a fun, fast read. Like Sedaris and Burroughs, Mr. LeLeux grows up as a gay son of a unusual and different mother (though Mr. LeLeux's mother takes the cake in terms of flamboyance). His mother is pretty much the star of the book. A Texas Blonde (but only because she...more
Carrie
Leleux's memoir of growing up gay in Texas with his pill-popping, fake-haired mother. It's drawn a lot of comparison to David Sedaris, and I kind of see a similarity, but David Sedaris is more about the neurotic behavior of his entire family, and Robert Leleux is more about the narcissism of his.

I also think David Sedaris is funnier, but maybe that's just because I listened to him read his own stuff, and maybe this would be funny too if David Sedaris read it.

My favorite quote:

"That's very cons...more
Susan
This is a humorous memoir of a section of the author's life in Texas -- a section of his teen years that began when his father left his mother and that included his realization that he was gay.

Our reading group organizer ordered this in error, instead of "Beautiful Boy" by Sheff. Our group decided to read this one instead, since it was on hand!

So serendipity played a large role in my choosing to read this memoir, but I am not sorry that I read it. It is written in a highly entertaining style. L...more
John
I tackled this one after reading The Living End: A Memoir of Forgetting and Forgiving, author's story of his grandmother and mother-in-law; I'd strongly recommending reading that one first. Here, he and his mother come off as just too self-centered and shallow to be likeable, which is a shame as by the end of the other book both came off as flawed, but okay people. Also, that book goes into more depth about his stepfather, which helps make more sense here, where the guy affects the story, though...more
Lynn
An amusing read. A young man, apparently born flagrantly gay tells the tale of his teenaged years in Texas with a mother who is one of the most self-absorbed people on the planet, who abandons him while he is still in high-school to pursue the man of her dreams, and the true love that saved his life. Leleux has wit, I will give him that but this book reads more like a fictinal tale that happened to someone else than his own story, which surely would have held far more pain than is written. Not t...more
Larry Hoffer
I absolutely LOVED this book. The closest comparison I can draw is to "Running with Scissors," but because of the humor and tenderness of the book, not because anyone had the type of psychological problems manifested in that book. Honestly, this book made me laugh out loud (although silently, because I was on a plane for most of it) and even choked me up sometimes. And while some of the situations were absolutely zany (and Leleux did mention in the preface that some instances will read funnier t...more
Laurel
I wish this book had been written to reach a younger audience...kids who could gain insight from Robert's story because it just wasn't funny or interesting enough in the long run to sustain itself in the way I think it was trying to. Not many people have led whole lives fascinating enought to "memoir" them, let alone do so by their mid 20s. Yes, the part about the mother's lip explosion had me laughing out loud...but the wait in the doctor's office dragged on forever and I got tired of all the P...more
Tuck
autobio of growing up in east tx and houston, on a big "ranch" but then daddy dumps mother and son so they are left to their own devices to muddle through and make a single parent life/family. things don't go so well after that (but it could be worse?!). very funny and worth the price just to have the end material: 1 about the author 1 a few words from Mother 3 a conversation with robert leleux 4 "bedecked" by victoria rebel 5 recommended reading 6 reading group questions, here's one! [2] Robert...more
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