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Logical Family: A Memoir

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  1,521 ratings  ·  285 reviews
In this long-awaited memoir, the beloved author of the bestselling Tales of the City series chronicles his odyssey from the old South to freewheeling San Francisco, and his evolution from curious youth to ground-breaking writer and gay rights pioneer.

Born in the mid-twentieth century and raised in the heart of conservative North Carolina, Armistead Maupin lost his virginit
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published October 3rd 2017 by Harper
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Diane S ☔
Oct 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
3.5 Engaging memoir by this author, who was raised in the South by a father who was a raging racist and homophobe. Hiding his own sexuality caused much conflict within himself, and in trying to please his father he enrolled in law school, which he soon dropped out. Then he joined the service and was sent to Vietnam. Eventually he would find acceptance professionally with the serialization of Tales in the City. Personally he would form a logical family, those in whose company he felt accepted, in ...more
Julie Ehlers
I grew up in a small blue-collar Catholic town where there weren't exactly a lot of different models for how a person might choose to live his or her life. I somehow emerged from my (also Catholic) university a more progressive person than when I'd gone in, but I still couldn't conceive of a life beyond the get-random-job, get-married, have-kids, give-up-job-to-raise them paradigm I'd seen all around me growing up. Then I read Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City, and I was enthralled. All these ...more
May 23, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
As with the series that made him famous, Maupin's memoir moves at a rapid pace, rarely dwelling on any one episode for more than a moment. Opting for breadth over depth, Maupin covers many years over the course of twenty short chapters; the first half of the memoir recounts his conservative youth spent in North Carolina and Vietnam, the second his adulthood as a popular writer living in San Francisco. Maupin's conversational style is easy to read, and he paints vivid portraits of famous friends ...more
Sep 22, 2017 rated it liked it
This was good and in many places, quite touching. I'm glad I read it. I especially appreciated reading about his experiences being in the military during the Vietnam War. But I couldn't get past the cis male gaze whenever he referred to trans women (real or fictional). Deadnaming and inconsistent gendering, and using the trans experience as a plot device. Otherwise, a lovely and heartfelt memoir. 3 1/2 stars.
Jill Meyer
Jul 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Armistead Maupin, that gay southern boy with the very good manners, is the author of the "Tales of the City" series, as well as couple of standalone novels. In this memoir, "Logical Family", Maupin recounts his "families" - both birth and acquired - with beautiful writing and almost sublime graciousness. He's cautious in what he should reveal...and what not to. And, believe me, that ability can make or break a memoir.

"Logical Family" is the selected memories of a lifetime. He writes about his
Jul 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Many straight Americans first learned of the San Francisco gay scene in the 1980's from “Tales of the City”, either the novel, based on a San Francisco Chronicle daily newspaper serial, or the television mini-series. Armistad Maupin, the right writer was in the right place at the right time, as a participant and observer of San Francisco gay life during the crucial period which included the beginning of AIDS and the murder of Harvey Milk. He managed to weave true events, such as the Florida/Anit ...more
Oct 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Maupin's personal life is just as fascinating as his fictional one. This memoir is filled with hilarious stories about his childhood, his time in the Navy, and his life in San Francisco. There are poignant moments that show how his conservative stances in his early life were equal parts a plea for his father's love and a strategy to keep him safe in the closet. Throughout, the mood stays light and touching, with plenty of entertaining anecdotes — exactly what we've come to expect from Maupin.

Tim Pinckney
Oct 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Easily my favorite book this year. He makes me laugh out loud. But, on the train home tonight, I was crying. Out loud.
Armistead Maupin is a national treasure. If you don't know his books, jump into "Tales of the City" - you have a great ride ahead.
Heather Fineisen
Oct 23, 2017 rated it liked it
This memoir is hit and miss. Some of the chapterscreally resonated with me and some didn't. Maupin can tell a story and he shines when writing about his family or his inspiration for Tales of the City. I found his Navy recollections my least favorite. There is some famous names peppered throughout-- Jesse Helms, Rock Hudson, Christopher Isherwood, Harvey Milk--and I like Maupin the activist. I met him at a reading in San Francisco before I had read any of his work, finding him charming and witty ...more
Oct 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Armsitead Maupin's memoir is a book I have been looking for all year and it did not disappoint. With all the warmth, humour, heartbreak and hope we have come to love from his Tales of the City series, Maupin turns to his youth until his early thirties and shares the memories of families, friendships and affairs that led him from North Carolina to San Francisco (via Vietnam) and the city that he fell in love with and created his muse. It is a joyous memoir which also reads a love letter to his pa ...more
Elizabeth Roberts-Zibbel
A solid, well-written memoir, though I had expected less time spent on his conservative youth and more on his antics in San Francisco and the rise of AIDS. It felt kind of impersonal at times, like a very long speech. Friendships with famous people were also explained and (it felt like) defended in a lot of detail. Maybe this book was written in answer to criticisms and questions about parts of his life rather than something he wanted to do, since in a way the Tales of the City books and The Nig ...more
Oct 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Just saw a documentary about the author, so when I saw this book, I bought I immediately. Turns out, he told a good many of these stories in the film, and I read in the acknowledgment that these were stories told onstage before they were put in this book. But I am glad to have the book, because I may not see the doc again, but I can always re-read the book. And despite the fact that these are not all happy memories (whose memories are all happy?), I can imagine re-reading the book with pleasure. ...more
Oct 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It may not be 5 stars for everyone else, but if you love Armistead Maupin (like I do) I don't know how you can't love this book. I had no idea Armistead came from such a conservative background and learned so much and found the last few chapters quite touching.
Mar 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Armistead Maupin has had a life crammed with events, so it might seem odd that Logical Family is a relatively slim volume. This is a man who goes into a lot of detail about many things, but is also comfortable at letting the years slip past. Logical Family is a satisfying but also elusive work.

Logical Family is a memoir that devotes itself largely to the formative years of its author and very little to the time that Maupin found his groove and success. Whether this is the fact that he feels that
Apr 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This compulsively readable book details Maupin's evolution from the dutiful scion of a toxically uptight and revoltingly rightwing Southern family to fun-loving, gay, liberal San Franciscan. It also includes plenty of funny stories, celebrity gossip, fascinating history, and charming observations about life and love.
Jan 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book with all my heart. I loved the glimpses into the inspirations for Tales of the City. I loved the fearless way Maupin examines his past. I loved the stories both new and fresh. So great. I barely put it down for a minute.
Oct 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
As memórias de Armistead Maupin, o autor da série de livros Tales of The City, que já vai em nove volumes. Trata-se de um livro extremamente pessoal, no qual o autor expõe-se a si e à sua família, mas trata-se igualmente de um testemunho de um dos pioneiros, nos anos 70 e 80, de algumas das mais importantes lutas pelo reconhecimento dos direitos dos gays e pelo reconhecimento da SIDA como um grave problema de saúde pública que precisava da atenção urgente as autoridades. Maupin fez parte da gera ...more
Michael Martin
Mar 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
For fans of Maupin's "Tales of the City" series, this memoir is an amazing and touching read. It gives you rich background information about his childhood, military years, and eventual move to San Francisco where he started the newspaper serial feature that became "Tales of the City". Expect a lot of surprises, and a lot of very funny observational moments. One of the best recent memoirs I have read. Five stars.
Apr 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
I loved Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City series,and I'm happy to say that I loved his memoir of growing up in a conservative southern family and finding his own way to the truth of his life in San Francisco just as much. It's funny, sad, heartwarming and, ultimately, optimistic about the human condition. We need more people like him gracing out planet.
Aug 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Many thanks to my colleague Linda for picking up an ARC of Armistead Maupin's memoir, Logical Family: A Memoir. I've been a huge Maupin fan my entire adult life having discovered Tales way back in college and following Armistead through all 9 books in the magical series as well as loving The Night Listener and especially Maybe the Moon. I own all three book adaptations on DVD and look forward to the next incarnation which has been hinted about on Maupin's blog.

So I came to the memoir with mount
Armistead Maupin can do no wrong in my eyes. I have read the 'Tales of the City' books multiple times and I am pretty sure I've read all the others too. While I was late to the 'Tales' game -- probably early 1990s and around the airing of the first PBS miniseries -- Maupin's works were an important piece of my own journey of self-acceptance and coming out, which only "ended" (spoiler alert: coming out never really ends) three years back when I become part of a dual-husband household.

Needless to
Mike Clarke
A man I made up: oh, sheesh, where to begin. I’ve loved Uncle Armo for as long as I can remember in my gay years, since picking up a stained and disreputable copy of Tales of the City whilst staying at Tony’s student digs in Cambridge in early 1988. I’d been told to amuse myself for a couple of hours so it was either hanging around the bushes on Parker’s Piece, or this and a copy of Marxism Today (which had a lovely ad for Everything But The Girl’s Idlewild album I recall). This is like a warm b ...more
Oct 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Armistead Maupin saved my life. I'm sure he saved the lives of thousands of other young queer people with his work. Warts (outing Rock Hudson) and all, he presents his story of growing up in the South while queer. Interestingly enough, he coined the term "logical family" as opposed to "biological family," and it almost seems like there is a bittersweet deconstruction of this by the end of the book. I always took "biological family" to be a pejorative, as if the biological family prevented authen ...more
Nov 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbtq
Logical Family filled me with more gay pride than 18 years' worth of parades, and left me profoundly honored to be part of a movement my Queer literary heroes like Maupin, Isherwood, Baldwin and Rechy, helped start by having the courage to live their truth and write about it.
Aug 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I laughed, I cried. What more can you ask for?
Shawn Mooney
Nov 21, 2017 marked it as did-not-finish
What ever possessed me to even try this? I don’t like family memoir, especially those centered on childhood. Bailed within the first few paragraphs of chapter 2.
Katrina Dreamer
Mar 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir
I thoroughly enjoyed this. It was like listening to a friend tell me stories about this life and I was sad when I was done.
Andrew Marshall
Mar 27, 2018 rated it liked it
It is always good to spend time with Armistead Maupin, he is a witty, compassionate and an entertaining writer. I would call myself a fan because I've read all the Tales of City books, his two novels and even the biography of him by Patrick Gale - plus I've seen him talk and got two books signed. Actually that sounds like a super fan!

So why wasn't I bowled over by his autobiography? The first problem is that Maupin has drawn heavily on his own life in the Tales series - even the least autobiogra
Sally Whitehead
Mar 23, 2018 rated it liked it
I should have adored this. I am besotted with "Tales of the City" and really loved Patrick Gale's biography of Maupin.

The second half was perfect; once we arrived in San Francisco and "Tales" started. There was a sudden rush of warmth and colour that had been so frustratingly absent in the first half of the book. This of course is where Maupin begins to meet and live with his titular "logical family" and really becomes his own person.

The first half of the book, in comparison, is flat and quite l
Nov 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Armistead Maupin and his Tales of the City series were so much a part of my experience of living in San Francisco between 89 and 01 that it was a pleasure to return to that era through his autobiography. The characters of "Tales" became like old friends, between their serialization in the newspaper, the series of books, and later a Showtime miniseries. I realized in reading this that I thought I knew more about Maupin than I actually did, so this book was helpful in filling in the gaps, especial ...more
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Armistead Maupin ...: Logical Family: A Memoir 1 8 Oct 03, 2017 11:19AM  
Armistead Maupin was born in Washington, D.C., in 1944 but grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina. A graduate of the University of North Carolina, he served as a naval officer in the Mediterranean and with the River Patrol Force in Vietnam.

Maupin worked as a reporter for a newspaper in Charleston, South Carolina, before being assigned to the San Francisco bureau of the Associated Press in 1971. In 19
“Sooner or later, though, no matter where in the world we live, we must join the diaspora, venturing beyond our biological family to find our logical one, the one that actually makes sense for us.” 4 likes
“Sooner or later, though, no matter where in the world we live, we must join the diaspora, venturing beyond our biological family to find our logical one, the one that actually makes sense for us. We have to, if we are to live without squandering our lives.” 0 likes
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