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The Memoirs of a Beautiful Boy
Date of Review: 
Published Work: 
Publisher's Weekly

Teacher, freelance writer and first-time author Leleux proves he’s already a master of the snappy one-liner and the improbably hilarious in this rollicking, bitter-sweet (emphasis on the bitter) coming-of-age memoir. Featuring a larger-than life mother addicted to shopping and surgical makeovers, Leleux admits to having “tilted” the story so that it “reads better (as in funnier, or happier) than it was lived”; still, it’s a rocky trip that obviously required a highly evolved sense of humor to get through (fortunately, Leleux makes himself as big a target as his extravagant mother). Beginning with his father’s abandonment when Leleux was 17, the author traces the erratic aftermath in the home of his desperate mom, whose plan to remarry rich leads her to pursue a risky and exorbitant series of surgical enhancements, turning inside-out Leleux’s hope that “the end of marriage [would be] only the beginning of plastic surgery and happy new lives.” In the meantime, Robert meets and unexpectedly falls in love with Michael Leleux, learning for the first time that he’s gay and, further, that his mom has already known. Not for the timid, this laugh-out-loud tale of dysfunction and discovery is a compulsively readable treat; any fan of Augusten Burroughs or David Sedaris owes it to themselves to pick it up. (Jan.)

The Memoirs of a Beautiful Boy / Starred Review