Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin, a review (Tales of the City #1)

Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin was gifted to me by Alex from On This Gay Day, and I thought that it wasn’t going to be for me. It’s very different to my usual reads, but I wanted to give it a shot. And I’m so glad I did!

Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin

This book is set in 1976 San Francisco, and follows multiple POVs of people living their lives. Like I said, not usually my vibe (I’m a heavy SFF kinda gal) but I ended up falling in love with these people and being so invested in their stories!

We start out by following a naïve young secretary, she has just moved away from her home to SF and is very much not expecting the life that is about to come her way. Laundromat Lotharios, pot-growing landladies, and it seems every nice man in this city bats for the other team. This LGTBQ+ book has fantastic representation in it. Especially considering it was first published in ’78, when we tend to assume things are white, straight, and cis, instead this book has a wide cast of characters which is so refreshing to read.

I adored learning about all of these characters too. Not all of them are good people, in fact most of them aren’t and make pretty big mistakes through the book. But at the same time, I just felt like I knew them so intimately. Maupin manages to place you headlong into their lives and I very much felt like a fly on the wall, in the best way. There is a plot lacing through this book, but it’s not the primary focus, instead very much being a character based read. Despite that? The plot is a really interesting one, and my one issue is that I wish it was developed just a little further! That’s totally a personal preference thing though, for those of you who completely go for character based reads? This is perfect.

On CAWPILE I rated this: Characters: 9, Atmosphere: 9, Writing: 7, Plot: 8, Intrigue: 7, Logic: 8, and Enjoyment: 8 giving an average of 8 and a 4.5* rating.

Highlight here for trigger warnings: mentions of paedophilia, adultery, death.

This is an absolutely fantastic modern classic and I’m so grateful it was introduced to my life! I am of course going to be continuing with this series and I’m excited to spend more time with these characters! Also, there’s a Netflix series adapting this book that stars Elliot Page and you best bet that’s going on my watch list!


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