Since this is my personal favorite of all the "Tales of the City" books, it really pisses me off to read all the negative reviews this one has gotten, mainly from peeps who were expecting yet another episodes in the "Tales" saga. Armistead Maupin confounds those expectations by totally going off format: it is narrated first person by Michael "Mouse" Tolliver, and so is a much more simpler and personal narrative than the other books. This is not meant to be a sprawling multi-story narrative, it's meant to be intimate and personal.
The things I found most annoying with the other books are largely absent here: Maupin's obsession with the upper classes which borders on outright snobbery, his propensity to reduce real events and problems into soap opera, the sense of humor that threatens to become so precious that it stops being funny, the ridiculous coincidences which puts too many demands on our willing suspension of belief - all these are replaced by a sincere personal story about people who have become gone from being iconic types to being authentic people.
There are genuine emotions here, I found all the tears and laughter in this book to be well earned.