Laurie's Reviews > Tales of the City

Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin
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's review
Feb 21, 2011

really liked it
Read in January, 2011

I began this book in part because I was curious. Everyone who ever attended SFSU had to read it for some class or other along the way, except I, the lit major. I had an attitude about it then that it must be more from the "pop fiction" angle of things, and so it took the book's clearance price of five dollars at a local bookstore to convince me to give it a go.

I should start by saying that I've lived in SF for nine years now, and would frequently visit in the years leading up to my final move. Also, I've always been a big fan of the history and culture of the 1970's. Were those elements needed to enjoy this book? Surprisingly, I don't think so.

Every single character in this book is charming as hell. In a way that still makes them believable and true to life (a cliche, maybe, but I dare you to read this and not put yourself or people you know into the roles of the characters). The plot line was well paced, and the writing was even more skilled than I had expected.

This was very obviously put together from a series of shorter pieces, as each chapter sort of does the "cliffhanger" for the next. I even believe that some of the connections and revelations were a little forced. That didn't stop me from turning pages quickly, eager to figure it all out.

This book also has an under current of bravery to it. I think with all the fiction in existence now, and living in the San Francisco bubble of progressive culture, I forget that this was one of the first books so openly dealing with the homosexual lifestyle. And not the "cause" of it, or the fight for basic rights, but the true everyday hum drum life of it. For that alone, Maupin deserves praise. He made an "issue" human.

Overall, this book is a fun, quick read that makes you wish to know more. I know I will be reading the next book in the series.

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