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Issue Categories Archives: Memoir

Something about Him

There’s a really good story inside The Gay Preacher’s Wife… somewhere. Meredith goes off topic so often that readers will need to be light on their toes to follow along. When she tells her story chronologically, it’s very good: Meredith can be outraged and outrageous, all in the same paragraph. But random, seemingly irrelevant items keep creeping into the story to ruin the mood, after which it takes a minute to get back into the spirit of what was going on. And there’s a lot of tiresome drama in this book. To the extent that you’re able to overlook these distractions, you might find yourself enjoying this memoir.

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It Don’t Come Easy

Conley writes of his childhood without overwhelming passion, as if composing a grocery list, though the reader can sense otherwise. At the time, Conley felt all the emotions that go with being shamed, belittled, and quietly bullied.

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A Voice (Contralto) for Social Justice

  Ronnie Gilbert: A Radical Life In Song: A Memoir by Ronnie Gilbert University of California Press 272 pages, $26.95     RONNIE GILBERT died on June 6, 2015. This posthumously published memoir offers an exceptional narrative about the life of a courageous and radical woman who believed that “songs are dangerous.” Ruth Alice Gilbert […]

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Nonacademic Interests

PAIGE SCHILT’S new memoir Queer Rock Love opens with Schilt embedded in graduate school, immersed in radical political thought and queer theory, and only beginning to realize that she is “not only politically gay” but actually gay.

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In the Age of the Gay Memoir

  AN HOUR BEFORE I was due there, I was surprised to read on my calendar that I was part of a reading group at the Huntington Library in San Marino, part of the hundredth birthday celebration of the writer Christopher Isherwood, born in 1904. I’d totally forgotten. His widower, Don Bachardy, had asked me […]

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That Last Recovery

  I Left It on the Mountain: A Memoir by Kevin Sessums St. Martin’s Press. 272 pages, $25.99   “HAVE YOU fucked the angel?” asks Hugh Jackman in the opening chapter of Kevin Sessums’ I Left It on the Mountain: A Memoir, posing the book’s central dilemma: “how to combine the carnal and spiritual.” The […]

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Homo Politicus

  Frank: A Life in Politics from the Great Society to Same-Sex Marriage by Barney Frank Farrar, Straus and Giroux 400 pages, $28.   GAY, JEWISH, and left-handed, Barney Frank likes to say that he’s a natural advocate for minorities. At the same time, had he not been gay, or so he insinuates here, he might have […]

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Mama’s Boy Gets Big

  JAMIE BRICKHOUSE freely and blithely admits in his new memoir that he “had no business being a child.” Then again, he never was a child, really, as becomes evident from his earliest memories. Dangerous When Wet: A Memoir by Jamie Brickhouse St. Martin’s Press. 288 pages, $25.99    

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Come Through for Me

  WHEN I MOVED to New York after college in the summer of 1980 to find a job in publishing, I took regular breaks from my daily search at a midtown bookstore on Fifth Avenue. The hardcovers and paperbacks that once filled the windows there have long since given way to other displays, including overalls […]

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Illusions Lost and Found

SEPTEMBER 1965: a half century on, it’s not easy to follow my movements with perfect accuracy, but here goes. I was staying up in Westchester County with Cheryl R., a fellow undergraduate a couple of years younger. We’d become friendly during the previous year, as part of the small huddle of Emory’s brainy misfits, a […]

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