HomeGroupsTalkExploreZeitgeist
Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Loading...

The Best Little Boy in the World (1973)

by John Reid

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Best Little Boy in the World (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
489341,816 (3.5)2
The classic account of growing up gay in America. "The best little boy in the world never had wet dreams or masturbated; he always topped his class, honored mom and dad, deferred to elders and excelled in sports . . . . The best little boy in the world was . . . the model IBM exec . . . The best little boy in the world was a closet case who 'never read anything about homosexuality.' . . . John Reid comes out slowly, hilariously, brilliantly. One reads this utterly honest account with the shock of recognition." The New York Times "The quality of this book is fantastic because it comes of equal parts honesty and logic and humor. It is far from being the story of a Gay crusader, nor is it the story of a closet queen. It is the story of a normal boy growing into maturity without managing to get raped into, or taunted because of, his homosexuality. . . . He is bright enough to be aware of his hangups and the reasons for them. And he writes well enough that he doesn't resort to sensationalism . . . ." San Francisco Bay Area Reporter… (more)
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 2 mentions

Showing 3 of 3
A book I wish I'd read earlier in life as I struggled with many of the same issues that the author did. This is a coming out story that shows how scary and often depressing it can be dealing with society's expectations and our reactions to the various strategies it uses to try to control us. Often leading double lives, we can sometimes be forced into acting like spies - lying to ourselves and others in the process. Meanwhile the process itself often accentuates the negative aspects of being part of a minority. Also, covers the conflicts that arise when we know we are gay but fail to find anyone we're really attracted to or that is compatible sexually - which can delay things...Second half of the book a bit tedious... ( )
  dbsovereign | Jun 27, 2019 |
From the start of his memoir Reid (rather, Tobias) is engaging, warm, and funny in writing about growing up and the eventual dissonance he felt between what was expected from him by his parents, society, etc. and the reality of his wanting to "be cowboys"* with other boys. There was no end-of-the-world 'why me?' boo-hooing, which is almost always exasperating to read/hear about however justified, which was a huge plus, and a real rarity I've found. Tobias did come off as conceited (in a book called 'The Best Little Boy in the World'?) at times. But that was part of the charm of it and added to the feeling of honesty throughout. He recognized who he was and took steps on his own terms and at his own pace to embrace it.

However, he does says some very, uh, disparaging things about the gay community's more flamoboyant aspects in contrast to his 'normalcy', something that he emphasizes at every opportunity. Not that that denial, the "I'm not that gay" reflex isn't still a problem, or something I'm innocent of either. As much as I grit my teeth whenever an acquaintence essentially congratulates me on not dressing like Elton John or something, of being otherwise normal for God's sake (aw shucks thanks dude), there's a hypocrisy element because I've made jokes about myself playing on those same stereotypes. So even if I'm a little offended and part of me wants to demand what the fuck would be wrong with dressing like Elton John anyway**, this is a pick-your-battles argument I mostly let be. That aspect of the book, 'TBLBitW's expressed confusion towards (and about belonging in) a community so different from what he's familiar with, might be the strongest reccomendation for it.

----"The More You Know" moment: here is a quote explaining why the whole "straight-acting" gay person thing is controversial. I should put it in my own words, but I have a hard time explicating concepts like this to people who don't already know, and I'm lazy. I was TV-Tropes surfing this morning so this example was close to mind:

"In real life, the "str8-acting" concept is very controversial in the gay community, with the two most extreme sides being either praise for showing that one can be gay without being flaming, or scorn for being an insecure phony trying too hard to fit in with straights due to not fully accepting their homosexuality. A lot of people just object to the term itself, feeling that it improperly conflates "masculinity" with "heterosexuality," implying that homosexuality is by default anti-masculine."

From TV Tropes Straight Gay

As much as I enjoyed it, above quibbles aside, the last quarter of this book is really, really slow, the doings of him and his friends didn't really interest me after the main conflict of the book was resolved -- and I read the revised edition which supposedly cut that section down. Don't let that discourage you though, the first three quarters are a lot of fun to read and I found plenty of similarities between myself and TBLBitW, considering the great deal that's happened since 1973 that was surprising and made this a better and more personal read than others I've read in the past.

*The whole "being cowboys" thing was adorable, I laughed every time it came up.

**Obviously, this is a rhetorical question. No one should dress like Elton John except Elton John. ( )
  ManWithAnAgenda | Feb 18, 2019 |
Found this book at an AAUW booksale and bought it on the strength of its first few pages. And it was a deal, even if only for the first half. Tobias/Reid is an engaging writer with a terrific, self-deprecating sense of humor, which comes across wonderfully. TBLBITW is, I think, an excellent primer for non-gays like me about the heartaches and difficulties of growing up gay in the 1950s and 60s - and probably before that too. Tobias conveys a real and vivid sense of just how awful it was to pretend to be straight for the first 21 years of his life, and I felt for the guy. It is his sense of humor which ultimately saves the book, and makes it eminently readable for the most part. And it was, I'm sure, that same healthy sense of humor that saved Tobias himself as he was going through all those terrible and trying years of growing up, first groping for, then finding his true sexual identity and trying to figure out how in the hell he was supposed to live. It was only the second half of the book, after he "came out" following his college years, that the narrative became rather self-absorbed and even tedious, as he gave in to his compulsion to tell all about the various couplings and sexual practices of the gay community - in NYC, Boston, Provincetown, etc in that pre-AIDS era of the 70s. I know he'd been missing all this "fun" for ten-plus years, but sometimes "TMI" can be an apt objection. So I did some skim-reading for the last 50 or 60 pages. That said, this was a better, more readable book, in many ways, than Edmund White's gay autobiography, MY LIVES. But not quite as good as FAMOUS BUILDER, by Paul Lisicky, who knew where to draw that line. So I'll recommend the first half of the book, and the second half with reservations. ( )
2 vote TimBazzett | Apr 20, 2010 |
Showing 3 of 3
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John Reidprimary authorall editionscalculated
Sullivan, AndrewIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
First words
Quotations
Last words
Disambiguation notice
This work is by financier Andrew Tobias using the pseudonym John Reid
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

The classic account of growing up gay in America. "The best little boy in the world never had wet dreams or masturbated; he always topped his class, honored mom and dad, deferred to elders and excelled in sports . . . . The best little boy in the world was . . . the model IBM exec . . . The best little boy in the world was a closet case who 'never read anything about homosexuality.' . . . John Reid comes out slowly, hilariously, brilliantly. One reads this utterly honest account with the shock of recognition." The New York Times "The quality of this book is fantastic because it comes of equal parts honesty and logic and humor. It is far from being the story of a Gay crusader, nor is it the story of a closet queen. It is the story of a normal boy growing into maturity without managing to get raped into, or taunted because of, his homosexuality. . . . He is bright enough to be aware of his hangups and the reasons for them. And he writes well enough that he doesn't resort to sensationalism . . . ." San Francisco Bay Area Reporter

No library descriptions found.

Book description
The classic account of growing up gay in America.
"The best little boy in the world never had wet dreams or masturbated; he always topped his class, honored mom and dad, deferred to elders and excelled in sports . . . . The best little boy in the world was . . . the model IBM exec . . . The best little boy in the world was a closet case who 'never read anything about homosexuality.' . . . John Reid comes out slowly, hilariously, brilliantly. One reads this utterly honest account with the shock of recognition." The New York Times
"The quality of this book is fantastic because it comes of equal parts honesty and logic and humor. It is far from being the story of a Gay crusader, nor is it the story of a closet queen. It is the story of a normal boy growing into maturity without managing to get raped into, or taunted because of, his homosexuality. . . . He is bright enough to be aware of his hangups and the reasons for them. And he writes well enough that he doesn't resort to sensationalism . . . ." San Francisco Bay Area Reporter
Haiku summary

Popular covers

Quick Links

Rating

Average: (3.5)
0.5
1 5
1.5
2 3
2.5 2
3 11
3.5 5
4 22
4.5
5 9

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 173,624,590 books! | Top bar: Always visible