Tag Archives: genre:Memoir

Evening Crowd at Kirmser’s: A Gay Life in the 1940s by Ricardo J. Brown

Rating: 9/10 ★★★★★★★★★☆ 
Title: Evening Crowd at Kirmser’s: A Gay Life in the 1940s
Author: Ricardo J. Brown
Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir
URL: University of Minnesota Press
Price: US $16.95
Summary [from the publisher]:
A surprising and vivid remembrance of gay life in the wake of World War II
The Evening Crowd at Kirmser’s is a compelling memoir of the author’s experiences as a young gay man during the 1940s. In an engaging and open writing style, and through stories both humorous and tragic, Brown introduces us to the companions and friends he met at Kirmser’s, a working-class bar in downtown St. Paul that became an unofficial home to gay men and lesbians at night.

My review: Continue reading Evening Crowd at Kirmser’s: A Gay Life in the 1940s by Ricardo J. Brown


Jeb and Dash: A Diary of Gay Life, 1918-1945 by Ina Russell

Rating: 7/10 ★★★★★★★☆☆☆ 
Title: Jeb and Dash: A Diary of Gay Life, 1918-1945
Author: Ina Russell, editor
Genre: Biography, Memoir, History
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Price: Out of Print
Here is the journal of Jeb Alexander, a gay man who lived in Washington, D.C. during the first half of the 20th century. Documents his life and details the joy and anguish of his on-and-off love affair with college chum C.C. Dasham.

My review: Continue reading Jeb and Dash: A Diary of Gay Life, 1918-1945 by Ina Russell


Without You by Anthony Rapp

Rating: 10/10 ★★★★★★★★★★ 
Title: Without You
Author: Anthony Rapp
Genre: Biography/Memoir
URL: Simon & Schuster
Price: US $16.00
Summary [from the publisher]:
Anthony Rapp had a special feeling about Jonathan Larson’s rock musical Rent as early as his first audition, which won him a starring role as the video artist Mark Cohen. The Pulitzer Prize-winning Rent opened to thunderous acclaim off-Broadway — but even as friends and family were celebrating the show’s first success, they were also mourning Jonathan Larson’s sudden death from an aortic aneurysm. And when Anthony’s mom began to lose her battle with cancer, Anthony found himself struggling to balance his life in the theater with his responsibility to his family.

In Without You, Anthony tells of his exhilarating journey with the cast and crew of Rent as well as the intimacies of his personal life behind the curtain. Marked by fledgling love and devastating loss, Without You is an exceptional memoir of the world of theater, the love of a son for his mother, and maturity won far too early.

My review: Continue reading Without You by Anthony Rapp


Fairyland: A Memoir of My Father by Alysia Abbott

Rating: 10/10 ★★★★★★★★★★ 
Title: Fairyland: A Memoir of My Father
Author: Alysia Abbott
Genre: Biography/Memoir
URL: W.W. Norton & Co.
Price: US $15.95
Summary [from the publisher]:
After his wife dies in a car accident, bisexual writer and activist Steve Abbott moves with his two-year-old daughter to San Francisco. There they discover a city in the midst of revolution, bustling with gay men in search of liberation—few of whom are raising a child.

Steve throws himself into San Francisco’s vibrant cultural scene. He takes Alysia to raucous parties, pushes her in front of the microphone at poetry readings, and introduces her to a world of artists, thinkers, and writers. But the pair live like nomads, moving from apartment to apartment, with a revolving cast of roommates and little structure. As a child Alysia views her father as a loving playmate who can transform the ordinary into magic, but as she gets older Alysia wants more than anything to fit in. The world, she learns, is hostile to difference.

In Alysia’s teens, Steve’s friends—several of whom she has befriended—fall ill as AIDS starts its rampage through their community. While Alysia is studying in New York and then in France, her father tells her it’s time to come home; he’s sick with AIDS. Alysia must choose whether to take on the responsibility of caring for her father or continue the independent life she has worked so hard to create.

Reconstructing their life together from a remarkable cache of her father’s journals, letters, and writings, Alysia Abbott gives us an unforgettable portrait of a tumultuous, historic time in San Francisco as well as an exquisitely moving account of a father’s legacy and a daughter’s love.

My review: Continue reading Fairyland: A Memoir of My Father by Alysia Abbott


A Report From Winter by Wayne Courtois

Rating: 8/10 ★★★★★★★★☆☆ 

Title: A Report from Winter
Author: Wayne Courtois
Genre: Memoir
URL: Amazon
Price: US$18.00

Summary (from the publisher): It’s January 1998, and the author is returning “home” after a ten-year absence to a Maine winter that’s even more brutal than usual. His mother, Jennie, is dying of cancer; she is well cared for, but unable to speak.  Needing support, Wayne calls on his longtime partner, Ralph, who heads northeast for his first exposure to the Maine cold. It’s also his first brush with Wayne’s family, including a feisty aunt and an emotionally distant brother. The contrast between a nurturing gay relationship and dysfunctional family bonds is as sharp as the wind sweeping in from the sea. Leavened with humor, A Report from Winter weaves childhood memories with the harsh realities of a family life that’s short on love. The memoir is a tribute to hard-won relationships in an uncaring world.

My Review: Continue reading A Report From Winter by Wayne Courtois