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Reading Gay Men’s Book Club


Review for

“Beautiful People” by Simon Doonan.

Definitely the funniest memoir about growing up in gay in Reading in the 50s & 60s we've ever read!

OK, it was the only one (& there was also plenty about moving to London, & flashforwards to living in the USA), but we all enjoyed it. I don't think any of us identified with the camp & ironic narrator, but we sympathized & understood & laughed & laughed. I'd like to quote whole chunks, but it's the sort of material where the humour accumulates as you get to know the characters and their various absurdities and coping strategies.

So we wanted to watch the BBC 2 series that came out a year or so later - sadly, we were very disappointed. They removed the basic point by shifting it decades later, & though they pretended it was in Reading, it was clearly all filmed elsewhere - & it just wasn't nearly as funny. Admittedly, perhaps much of the material was more suited to reminiscence than representation...

But a splendid light read even for someone who doesn't know Reading or remember the 60s. (And I always like reading about a family that makes mine look normal.)

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