Book Review: Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin

Tales of the CityWhat’s it about?2012 WBN Logo

San Francisco, 1976. A naïve young secretary, fresh out of Cleveland, tumbles headlong into a brave new world of laundromat Lotharios, pot-growing landladies, cut throat debutantes, and Jockey Shorts dance contests.

The saga that ensues is manic, romantic, tawdry, touching, and outrageous – unmistakably the handiwork of Armistead Maupin.

My thoughts

This book was next up on the list for my World Book Night reading challenge and so I picked up a copy from my local library.

Basically imagine that movie Crash where all the characters are linked by someone else;  linked by six degrees of separation but set in the ’70s and that is this book.

When Mary-Ann moves in to a house on Barbary Lane, San Francisco we soon learn about all the tenants; the intermingling lives of themselves,  their friends and associates. There’s characters that you’ll love and some not so much but they do all bring something different to the story.

It’s a book made up of very short chapters and mostly they start and finish in the middle of a page (I really dislike this!) and I think it actually reads like a soap opera in a book which reminded me of Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann (see that review here) with the drug use, hedonistic lifestyle and promiscuity. However, there are some really good twists which I quite enjoyed and didn’t see coming.

After tweeting on Twitter that this was my next read I had a few replies with nothing but praise for this book:

@rebecca_mcr1146: “I loved it! Short chapters always make me want to read more. It’s a great escape from dreary England!”

@MiddleAgedCred: “You’ll love it. They become family.

@rspateman: “That’s a fun series. Enjoy.

@DadofChelsea: “you will in for quite the ride. Get ready for falling in love with amazing characters”

@DrKilgoreTrout: “so lucky to start from the beginning!”

So, after all this postive praise, why didn’t I love it? Yes, I enjoyed reading it but I didn’t think it was amazing or anything I’ll probably remember in 6 months. It’s a fun read and quite light hearted, and I don’t think there’s any serious message to be learned here so why the high praise – I can’t actually answer that, you’ll need to read for yourselves!

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