Jack's Reviews > Tales of the City

Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin
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May 30, 12

Read in April, 1994

One of the most overrated authors of all time. Not surprisingly the fact that this series of amateurish daytime soap-opera novellas were adapted for TV meant it was one of those rare instances in which the TV adaptation was actually better than the books. Okay, to be fair, I only read the first book. I slogged through the whole thing, and i absolutely hated it. But, this much i know. The reader could not possibly relate to the San Francisco backdrop unless he had actually spent quite a bit of time there and new the city well. Maupin fails to describe anything. He just rattles off locations as if everyone knows exactly where they are, what they look like, and their general vibe. The characters were so paper thin, my nine-year-old niece could probably create something with more depth.

I know my thoughts on this book won't be popular, as it's the type of thing that has gained a huge cult following over the years, but for the life of me, i cannot understand how people enjoy these works even on an ironic level. i suppose if you enjoy supermarket romance novels or reading letters to porn magazines, this would be suitable entertainment, but let's not pretend that this actually rises beyond that kind of level. It's the kind of very low brow entertainment that's disguised as something with incredible depth, and nobody has the guts to say 'hey...the emperor has no clothes!'
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Sue (new) - rated it 2 stars

Sue I agree with you 100%! Such a bore. I couldn't force myself to finish it.


Blair Slavin I think it is more an age thing for you. I am 49 and a lot of the references are things I know about from learning over the years. I never was part of the San Francisco thing, though I have been there. I never did the baths or the hippy dippy thing. So I don't think it was all that bad, but if you aren't of an age to be able to relate (and if you were gay back then, San Francisco was the place everyone went) then of course the book will seem rather thin.


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