Stephanie's Reviews > Conversations and Cosmopolitans: Awkward Moments, Mixed Drinks, and How a Mother and Son Finally Shared Who They Really Are

Conversations and Cosmopolitans by Robert Rave
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Jul 16, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: first-reads, 2011-reading
Read from July 13 to 16, 2011 — I own a copy , read count: 1

** spoiler alert ** Wonderful, Wonderful, Wonderful. I recently received an advance copy of this novel and I'm very glad I did. This mother/son team delivers a very accurate look into homosexual culture, as well as its effect on family life. This memoir contains some extremely eccentric New Yorkers that will keep any reader sufficiently entertained.


The first thing I really enjoyed about the book was the format. The other part of the book's format that I enjoyed was the authors' alternating voices each chapter. First, the reader gets Robert's story, then mom chimes in afterward to give her perspective. This prevents them from competing for the reader's attention and creates a clear-cut separation of thoughts, opinions, and experiences during each situation presented. A 20-something gay New Yorker's perspective is clearly much different from his middle-aged Midwestern mother's. As time goes on however, we see the differences become less and less as mother and son connect on deeper levels.


An author can paraphrase and summarize communications between the characters, but the Raves took it to a whole new level, including online messaging transcripts, e-mails, and letters written during the pivotal events in their lives. These give a more accurate look at the relationship between mother and son, and show the evolution of their relationship as they both become more comfortable and familiar with Robert's lifestyle, and become more comfortable in their own relationship to each other.


I especially liked chapter sixteen, titled "The Daughter-in-Law You'll Never Have (Also known to my parents as my best friend Melissa). I laughed out loud several times during this chapter! The crazy antics Robert and his best friend get into during a weekend out in New York City were a welcome change from the chapters of sadness and awkwardness from loneliness, rejection, credit card debt, and trying to "make it" in the real world. I also really liked that Melissa brings Robert out of his shell more than any other person we encounter, requiring him to down massive amounts of sugar and Diet Coke to keep up with her voracious energy and enthusiasm. She's confident and suave, where as Robert is unsure and awkward. A perfectly matched duo to run amok in Central Park and Midtown, chasing guys.


Clearly, I don't have anything negative to say about this book. The characters are strong and continually develop as life throws more their way. It's not only about a son's homosexuality and how the family changes once they find out, but it says a lot about the love and loyalty of a mother to her child. Despite discrimination and negative responses in a small town, Jane stands her ground on several occasions and speaks out to protect and promote her son and his lifestyle- even to close family friends. I give it four out of five stars.
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