cover image The House of Hidden Meanings: A Memoir

The House of Hidden Meanings: A Memoir

RuPaul. Dey Street, $29.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-06-326390-1

Drag queen RuPaul (GuRu) excavates his childhood, early romances, and rise to fame in this unvarnished personal history. He begins in 1960s San Diego, where he lived with his fiery mother, self-absorbed father, and three sisters until his parents divorced. At 15, he moved with his sister, Renetta, and her husband to Atlanta, where he eventually dropped out of high school and fell in with the city’s bohemian art scene. The memoir luxuriates in this period, recounting the author’s tumultuous affairs, early dabblings with drag, and eventual move to New York City, where he and his former Atlanta BFF Lady Bunny rose to rule the downtown scene. Unlike the performer’s featherweight previous autobiographies (including 1995’s Lettin’ It All Hang Out), the tone here is intimate, almost conspiratorial, which both helps and hurts. On the one hand, he discusses his substance abuse and lifelong sexual insecurity with sometimes-stunning candor; on the other, he offers up some alarming pop psychology pablum, including the assertion that his father’s provincial family were “still slaves” who were “afraid of everything.” Fans looking for dishy Drag Race drama will be disappointed—the volume ends well before the show’s premiere—but readers eager for a peek behind RuPaul’s glamorous persona will get just what they came for. Agent: Cait Hoyt, CAA. (Mar.)