LITERATURE

Mama’s Boy: A Story from Our Americas

Knopf. Apr. 2019. 416p. ISBN 9781524733278. $27.95; ebk. ISBN 9781524733285. MEMOIR
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Black, an LGBTQ activist and Oscar-winning screenwriter of Milk, provides a touching if unfocused memoir about familial relationships and the power of building personal bridges. Black’s mother, Anne, lost the use of her legs to polio but defied societal expectations by teaching herself to walk on crutches, marrying, raising three children, and building a career. Sensitive and introverted, the author drew on that maternal example of resilience to weather a childhood of upheavals and find success in the film industry. Yet throughout his youth and early adulthood, Black kept his homosexuality hidden, fearful its revelation would be too much for his conservative, religious mother to accept. His eventual coming out proved to solidify their bond instead of destroying it; both found worthy lessons in each other’s perspectives and drew strength from each other in order to face future struggles.
VERDICT This earnest memoir is somewhat overstuffed with discussions of religion and Hollywood; the greatest appreciation will likely come from readers interested in a heartfelt look at self-acceptance as well as the complexities of family or personal stories about mending divides between liberal and conservative

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