I think the biggest issue I have with this book is how quickly it ended. Some of this is of course due to the Amazon Kindle flaw of telling you have 8-10% left in the book when really you have 1-2% and the other 8-9% of those pages are bonus content. But, the rest of it has to do with this having the first true cliffhanger in the series. [This might not be true as I can’t really remember the endings of the others, just they all blend together.]
I knew Tim didn’t read this blog, but I didn’t realize how little he paid attention to what I read. He recommended this after I basically forced him to read Check, Please! (#Hockey! #1) and the whole time I was reading this he was worried I would think it was too corny. And I kept telling him, PLEASE, you don’t even know how much I love this shit.
Almost Like Being in Love is the story of Travis and Craig told in a modern epistolary format, including internal memos, diaries, research requests, and eventually emails. From their budding love as seniors at a boarding school to 20 years later when Travis seeks Craig out after they grew apart when they went to separate colleges on opposite coasts in the US.
This is not the first time I’ve read this. I have seen the film adaptation and I have read this multiple times. There are no surprises in this for me, and yet there I was sitting on the train with tears rolling down my face trying not to make that horrible noise when you can’t breathe, but you have to breathe or you’re going to choke on your tears. I clearly need to read this every few years to remind me of my humanity.
I have vague recollections of Matthew Shepard’s murder and the media circus that ensued in the late ’90s, but I do remember staying up late secretly watching the HBO adaptation (IMDB link) as a Junior/Senior in high school. It was a defining moment as a young man coming to terms with my sexuality. It didn’t really scar me or anything, but it definitely made me realize the “don’t ask, don’t tell” with which my family and most of my town it seemed operated under was just as easily broken as the “live and let live” as that in Wyoming.
So far of the books my boss lent me last September this is by far my favorite. Although I enjoyed Donoghue’s Hood and Schulman’s first novel After Delores was good, this one just stands out as a moving piece of the time and serves as a great commentary. This goes towards my Mount TBR Reading Challenge putting me at 11/25 (44%).
What was great about this novel was from the opening line you knew it was going to be about voyeurism (or I realize that looking back). Schulman opens her novel with one of the greatest opening lines I’ve read in a long time. If it’s from something else PLEASE let me know! She opens with, “It was the beginning of the end of the world but not everyone noticed right away.” and from that point on takes you on a fascinating journey threw the AIDS underground of New York City.
Babycakes takes place two years after Further Tales of the City and of the four books I’ve read in the series this is my least favorite. I understand characters have to grow and evolve, but sometimes you just don’t want them to.
In comparison to the other novels in this series, the novel seems angst ridden and is darker than the previous novels. I’m not sure if this is a direct response to Maupin’s mindset at the time or the general feeling of gloom and doom of San Francisco and the LGBT community at the time. Originally published in 1984, Maupin wrote the tales in Babycakes while Reagan was President of the US and Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister of the UK and the AIDS crisis was on the horizon (although the Reagan administration didn’t acknowledge it until 1987).