Maupin’s memories are by turns touching and humorous, as when he recalls losing his virginity in 1969 ... Maupin highlights his Hollywood friendships, which move beyond name-dropping and into poignant conversations about coming out, particularly during the fight against AIDS in the 1980s ... the heart of the book comes through when Maupin’s worlds collide: His parents happen to be in town for a visit when Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone are assassinated. The sorrow of watching his Republican father at an emotional memorial for a great figure, a victim of homophobia, suddenly turns the narrative into a heartrending portrait of redemption ... Engaging and revelatory, Maupin’s memoir is a delight, punctuating a distinguished career in letters.
...[a] vivid and charming memoir ... Maupin’s true-life tale bears stylistic trademarks that made his fiction popular: a knack for memorable characters, a humorous outlook even in the face of serious topics (wars, AIDS, life in the closet) and a heart-on-sleeve willingness to jerk a few tears and sprinkle plenty of fairy dust. He peppers the long arc of his 72 years with the snappy skill of a seasoned, deadline-driven vignettist ... Logical Family falls off a bit at the end, as Maupin interrupts himself with name-dropping anecdotes and perhaps too much about seeking to make peace with his parents, but his memoir is never less than engaging.
The pleasure of this book, beyond the funny anecdotes and poignant reflections, is getting a behind-the-scenes look at a treasured series of novels and reading a first-hand account of a significant human rights movements in our nation’s history. Maupin offers a vivid look at key moments—such as the murder of Harvey Milk—and the impact these had on the gay rights movement and his life. Unsurprisingly, Maupin is a sympathetic and soulful storyteller. His account of a past struggle for equality is especially important in our fraught present.
Each of the 20 chapters of Maupin’s memoir reads like a well-made scene for TV: tidy and arced, with a punchline ... at 304 pages with lots of white space per page, it’s a spare selection of anecdotes that are supposed to interpret and shape the meaning of Maupin’s life – a lot has been left out. There are brief scenes featuring his friends Laura Linney, Ian McKellen and Christopher Isherwood. But conspicuously missing from a memoir called Logical Family is any description of an ordinary, intimate circle of San Francisco friends and lovers ... A more apt title for this autobiographical story about changing from one type (conservative, chaste and clueless about the unjust plights of others) to its opposite (liberal, promiscuous and focused to some extent on diversity, equality and freedom) would have been A Different Person ... Logical Family, like all of Maupin’s books, is best read quickly, and just once. That’s entertainment.
There are two Maupins at work in these pages. One is charming, effervescent, lyrical, hilarious, a name-dropper. The other is insecure, withdrawn, and a mite tone-deaf to the world around him. That they both inhabit the book indicates the real complexity of the man himself, but the dichotomy remains unexamined … The memoir misses an opportunity to examine its most complicated material. Maupin’s inability or unwillingness to probe the contradictory nature of his early decades — working as a reporter at a television station run by Jesse Helms, walking out of a church with his family when the church threatened to integrate — leaves a gap that wants bridging … Instead, the easy, breezy quality of the book leaves us with the feeling that we’ve hardly seen a clear interior.
...[a] wonderful memoir ... Maupin’s parents were taken aback by the goings-on at 28 Barbary Lane. But his portrayal of them — especially of his mother, always trying to avoid conflict — is touching. Maupin expresses pride in his accomplishments, but is also self-deprecating. Sharp portraits of Rock Hudson, Christopher Isherwood and Laura Linney appear toward the end of the book. But the most startling character is 'Teddy' himself (as his parents nicknamed him), starting his life as a deeply closeted son of the South, before winding up as a Left Coast champion of personal liberties and a genial gay raconteur-uncle to us all.
In this endearing memoir, Maupin recalls the colorful path he followed as he carved out a place within his logical family, including military service in Vietnam and a San Francisco journalist career, during which his Tales of the City characters and situations were created. It is easy to understand Maupin’s reputation for geniality, given his openheartedness as a person and his honesty as a writer; and that will make this delightful chronicle attractive to a wide range of readers, whether they’re familiar with his fiction or not.
While you certainly don’t need to know Maupin’s previous work to appreciate Logical Family, having familiarity with the Tales of the City books does enrich the reading of the memoir, since he does let us in on what inspired some characters and events in the novels ... Politically and socially, Maupin’s memoir takes us full circle–or perhaps worse. Although the writer himself is no longer the young man who rallied against socialists and peacenicks, with the election of Donald Trump, much of the country seems eerily like the Maupin’s childhood South.
...[an] engrossing and emotional memoir ... Maupin plays fast and loose with his timeline, jumping fluidly back and forth between decades, but never muddies his waters—in fact, the story is told with such clarity that even those unfamiliar with Maupin’s work can appreciate his life experiences. He had steamy trysts with Rock Hudson as well as a long-standing friendship with Ian McKellan, but the true prize here is the cleverness with which Maupin bares his soul. Maupin ties the bonds of joy and heartache he shares with both his families (biological and 'logical'), and in so doing he has crafted a nuanced reflection on what it means to love and be loved in a flawed but beautiful world.
Loving remembrances abound—not least of his compassionate mother—as the author celebrates the many people who enriched his life; most famous among them are Christopher Isherwood, Ian McKellen, and Rock Hudson, with whom Maupin became 'buddies with occasional benefits.' Engaging reminiscences from an ebullient storyteller.