Jeff's Reviews > Sure of You

Sure of You by Armistead Maupin
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Sep 07, 14

bookshelves: gay, fiction
Recommended for: anyone, gays and lesbians
Read in August, 1995

This was my least favorite book of the series (I haven't read Michael Tolliver Lives! yet), and I have to say that the only reason I don't give this book one star is because I really love the overall series and - like it or not - this novel wrapped it up.

Over the course of the series, Maupin slowly abandoned Mary Ann as the "voice" of the series in favor of Michael; as a gay man writing about the often hedonistic world of San Francisco, this made sense and allowed Maupin to describe that world in frank terms without feigning first revulsion, then curiosity and begrudging acceptance through Mary Ann. I get it.

What I don't get is why he felt the need to turn Mary Ann into a social-climbing, two-faced cunt in the process. I think that given the two extremes that Mary Ann went to over the course of the series (Midwest stick-in-the-mud to liberated woman of the 1970s), it would have been "natural" for character to stake out the middle ground eventually. It wasn't her leaving Brian that stuck out as being so out-of-character for Mary Ann, or even leaving San Francisco, but her motives. In the end, Mary Ann becomes a yuppie; a terminal condition in Maupin's world, and an affliction which never manifested any symptoms in Mary Ann prior to this book.

I call bullshit.

The other major development in this book is Michael's diagnosis of being HIV-positive. Not really a shocker considering that AIDS claimed the life of his lover earlier on in the series, Michael's reaction to the diagnosis didn't seem authentic for the period the book was set in; HIV was a death sentence until the mid-1990s, this book is set in the mid-to-late 1980s and was published in 1989. A drug-and-alcohol-fueled binge of promiscuity would have been more fitting for Michael's character at that point in time than quiet acceptance, in my opinion.

All that aside, over the course of the first five books, Maupin created a cast of characters that were real. You can't help but want to know what became of them, and even finding out that the two major characters would leap beyond their previous characterizations to become a cunt and a curiously accepting HIV-positive man with no realistic expectation to survive until he got his own book in 2007 wasn't enough to completely ruin Sure of You for me.

"Sure of You" gets two stars - mostly because the first five books were so much better than this one.
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