October 23, 2014

‘Not My Father’s Son: A Memoir’ by Alan Cumming

Posted on October 11, 2014 by in Bio/Memoir, Reviews

Multi-talented star of stage and screen, Alan Cumming has appeared in more than a hundred television, movie and theatre productions. Currently reprising his Tony award-winning role as the Emcee in the Broadway revival of Cabaret, the openly bisexual actor has never been shy about sharing aspects of his personal life. However, he takes things to new and unimagined levels in his memoir, Not My Father’s Son. With remarkable candour and clarity, Cumming leads the reader through concentric layers of personal revelations that shook his life in 2010. Yet in dealing with family mysteries spanning three generations, the breadth of the book is far greater than such a premise would suggest. (more…)

‘Wilde in America: Oscar Wilde and the Invention of Modern Celebrity’ by David M. Friedman

Posted on October 8, 2014 by in Bio/Memoir, Reviews

In late 1881, Oscar Wilde, then twenty-seven, embarked for New York to begin a lecture tour covering thirty states and fifteen thousand miles. Over the next ten months the American press would publish nearly five hundred pieces about him, making him the most famous Briton in the United States with the exception of Queen Victoria. This happened despite the fact that thus far his published work was limited to a slim volume of negligible verse which sold poorly. Following his trip, he regaled British audiences with a talk he titled Impressions of America, that featured such now-familiar remarks as this on Niagara Falls: “Every American bride is taken there, and the sight…must be one of the earliest, if not the keenest, disappointments in American married life.” (more…)

‘A Cup of Water Under My Bed’ by Daisy Hernández

Posted on September 27, 2014 by in Bio/Memoir, Reviews

If you yearn for thoughtful, truth-filled, and honest writing about US racism that is sharp and righteous, read Colorlines. ColorLines exemplifies progressive journalism with a racial justice lens. From 2004 through 2010, Daisy Hernández helped build Colorlines. Working as a writer and editor, Hernández, with a team of activist journalists, migrated the print magazine from its quarterly publication to its current incarnation as a powerful online news journal characterized by incisive analysis. If you care about racial justice news, subscribe to the Colorlines feed. (more…)

‘Travels with Casey’ by Benoit Denizet-Lewis

Posted on September 21, 2014 by in Bio/Memoir, Reviews

It’s a strange thing. We never really know what our pets are feeling, and yet we’re so often convinced they either love us or hate us. Consider Benoit Denizet-Lewis, author and owner of a nine-year-old Labrador-Golden Retriever mix. “Casey’s really good at looking miserable,” Denizet-Lewis complains to his psychoanalyst. He hopes his upcoming cross-country road trip with the dog, for a new book called Travels with Casey, will give them a chance to bond. (more…)

‘Man Alive: A True Story of Violence, Forgiveness and Becoming a Man’ by Thomas Page McBee

Posted on September 15, 2014 by in Bio/Memoir, Reviews

Thomas Page McBee’s Man Alive: A True Story of Violence, Forgiveness and Becoming a Man is not a memoir—though, in all likelihood, it will often be characterized as such, in a testament to both the limits of cultural understandings of nonfiction and of transgender storytelling. In reality, Man Alive is a gem of creative nonfiction, and an excellent example of what distinguishes that often nebulous genre. As Lee Gutkind, one of the explicators of the form, explains on the site for his journal, Creative Nonfiction: (more…)

‘Returning to Reims’ by Didier Eribon

Posted on July 31, 2014 by in Bio/Memoir, Reviews

One of the most alarmingly overlooked issues facing lgbt politics is the impact of social and economic class divisions within the lgbt community. Today, as lgbt organizations increasingly promote the image of the upper middle class professional as the face of its campaign for rights, it is more important than ever that we understand the role social and economic class plays in the queer world as issues such as gentrification, homeless youth, and affordable healthcare affect the more vulnerable members of the community. Didier Eribon’s Returning to Reims presents a fresh insight into examining social class as an integral part of gay identity. Part personal memoir, part philosophical treatise on the relationship between sexual identity and social class status, Eribon’s book is both a delicately told tale of a young Frenchman crafting a gay self in the working class world and a stunning analysis of how acculturation into a social class identity affects sexual identity and vice versa. (more…)

‘Queerly Beloved: A Love Story Across Genders’ By Diane and Jacob Anderson-Minshall

Posted on July 7, 2014 by in Bio/Memoir, Reviews

Queerly Beloved: A Love Story Across Genders by Diane and Jacob Anderson-Minshall is a creative non-fiction account of Jacob’s transition from female-to-male, told from both Jacob’s perspective and his wife Diane’s. The book explores the many ups and downs of transitioning and the effects that can have on a relationship, identity, and for this well-known couple, the status of “professional lesbian,” as Diane puts it, in the publishing world. (more…)

‘Maggie & Me: Coming Out and Coming of Age in 1980s Scotland’ by Damian Barr

Posted on June 17, 2014 by in Bio/Memoir, Reviews

Margaret Thatcher was no friend to Scotland – hundreds gathered in Glasgow’s George Square to celebrate her death in 2013 – nor was she one to the burgeoning gay community – she passed Section 28 which outlawed the promotion of the “acceptability of homosexuality” in 1988 – yet for the young Damian Barr, her indefatigable resolve and uncompromising femininity were beacons guiding the way to a better life. In Maggie & Me: Coming Out and Coming of Age in 1980s Scotland, Barr recounts an often-harrowing childhood in North Lanarkshire. However, in quite a characteristically Scottish fashion, bred in a people whose summers always retain “a patch of snow-wash denim blue in the indigo of night,” his story is not weighed down by hardship. Rather, with a playful prose, both light and expressive, Barr’s is an account of optimism and the bold pursuit of a happier future. (more…)

‘Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More’ by Janet Mock

Posted on June 5, 2014 by in Bio/Memoir, Reviews

“Who will love you if you never tell the truth?”

This question carries a universality beholden to the human condition, which seeks intimacy but simultaneously fears it. It is a question posed by Janet Mock, who is hesitant to reveal certain aspects of her life to Aaron, the man she loves, but it is also one experienced by all of us. (more…)

‘The Reappearing Act: Coming Out as Gay on a College Basketball Team Led by Born-Again Christians’ by Kate Fagan

Posted on May 24, 2014 by in Bio/Memoir, Reviews

You would think what with all the progress we’ve made that it would be easy for kids to come out nowadays, but as we all know, it’s still no picnic, and it’s especially hard when you’re surrounded by folks who like to use the Bible to defend their homophobia. This was the environment Kate Fagan found herself in at the University of Colorado and she tells her story in a powerful way in the new memoir, The Reappearing Act. (more…)