cover image The Best Little Boy in the World Grows Up

The Best Little Boy in the World Grows Up

Andrew P. Tobias. Random House (NY), $24.95 (256pp) ISBN 978-0-375-50111-1

A quarter of a century ago, shortly after receiving his MBA from Harvard, Tobias wrote The Best Little Boy in the World. Already established as a finance writer (The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need), he decided to write his account of growing up gay under the name John Reid. The book's publication and reception led Tobias to question his closeted life and slowly undertake the careful and selective coming-out process that is the crux of this loosely spun and overly anecdotal memoir. Via accounts of his coming-out experiences with family, friends and colleagues and various trials and tribulations of dating and relationships, Tobias sketches the shifting landscape of homophobia in America. Tobias's journey encompasses the closeted '60s at Harvard to gay Fire Island in the '70s, to AIDS and the rise to power of Bill Clinton (for whom Tobias reserves his greatest accolades). While Tobias writes with a healthy dose of self-deprecating humor and sarcasm, the endless encomiums by supportive liberals or powerful gay men as they broke down the barriers of homophobia becomes tedious. The recurrent message--basically ""wow! we've come a long way!""--is obvious. And if Tobias's enthusiasm for society's greater tolerance is refreshing, his outlook from the top of the social ladder is somewhat narrow and the tone tends to be self-congratulatory. Tobias is most at home when writing about the intricacies of relationships, wittily depicting the subtleties and nuances of friendship, romance, lust and love for modern gay men. (Sept.)