In a memoir studded with delicious lines and unforgettable set pieces, Robert Leleux describes his east Texas boyhood and coming of age, under the tutelage of his eccentric, bewigged, flamboyant, and knowing mother. Living on their in-laws’ horse ranch in a white-pillared house they can’t afford, Robert and Mother find themselves chronically low on cash. Soon they are forced into more modest quarters, and as a teenaged Robert watches with hilarity and horror, Mother begins a desperate regimen of makeovers, extreme plastic surgeries, and finally hairpiece epoxies—all calculated to secure a new, wealthy husband.
To her son’s amazement, she succeeds. Robert, meanwhile, finds direction in a Houston theatre company, overseen by a former Broadway actress who has energetically embraced her role as a big fish in a small pond. RehearsingWest Side Story, he meets a choreographer named Michael, who will become his life partner and whose Cajun-rooted family welcomes Robert into the kind of normal home he’s never known. With wit and warmth that lighten even the most awful circumstances, The Memoirs of a Beautiful Boy is a sparkling debut.