A few weeks ago I finally broke down and ordered Mary Ann in Autumn, the most recent installment in Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City series. It arrived this past Monday and like any good gay man, I took it with me to work and started reading it in between my actual work. I finished it up last night at home (it's an easy read).
What can I say? I laughed. I cried. I actually got blindsided by the denouement (mainly because I'd forgotten about certain characters from earlier in the series). I once again acknowledged the brilliance that is Armistead Maupin. His writing has this tendency to seduce you and invite you into the lives of his characters...by book's end you feel like you've been with good friends.
I own the entire series. I first came across Babycakes in the 80's: I was in college, coming out of the closet and accepting myself, dating, having sex with men, and hanging out with my own "Mary Ann" - her name was Caroline though. I quickly bought the previous books (Tales of the City, More Tales of the City, Further Tales of the City) and devoured them. As Maupin wrote each additional book in the series, I quickly grabbed it and revisited with these old friends. And quite honestly, I think his series helped me to continue to accept myself.
I hope that Maupin continues to write the series, taking us into the next generation of Ben, Jake, and Shawna while continuing on with Mary Ann, Michael, Brian, et al. I know that some day we will have to lose Mrs. Madrigal but until then she can continue to dispense her wisdom (and pot).
I'm certain many of you have already read this book and the series; but if you haven't then please look into it. It shares such a wonderful and colorful view of San Francisco and its denizens who will become good friends. Perhaps it is a bit dated but the underlying message - that it's okay to be you - is the perfect compliment to the It Gets Better campaign.
So do yourself a favor: curl up with this book...you won't be sorry!