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“A magnificent achievement. I cannot remember a book where I cried so often. Brave, insightful, unflinching, funny, sad, triumphant . . . everything. And both a warning and a hope for the times to come.” —Stephen Fry
This heartfelt, deeply personal memoir explores how one family built bridges across today’s great divides. And how our stories hold the power to heal.
Dustin Lance Black wrote the Oscar-winning screenplay for Milk and helped overturn California’s anti–gay marriage Proposition 8, but he grew up in a conservative Mormon household outside San Antonio, Texas. His mother, Anne, was raised in rural Louisiana, and contracted polio when she was two years old. She endured brutal surgeries, as well as braces and crutches for life, and was told that she would never have children or a family. Willfully defying expectations, she found salvation in an unlikely faith, raised three sons, and escaped the abuse and violence of two questionably devised Mormon marriages before finding love and an improbable career in the U.S. civil service.
When Lance came out to his mother at twenty-one, he was already studying the arts instead of going on his Mormon mission. She derided his sexuality as a sinful choice and was terrified for his future. It may seem like theirs was a house destined to be divided, and at times it was. Mama’s Boy explores what it took to remain a family despite such division—a journey that stretched from the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court to the woodsheds of East Texas. In the end, the rifts that have split a nation couldn’t end this relationship that defined and inspired their remarkable lives.
Mama’s Boy is their story. It’s a story of the noble quest for a plane higher than politics – one of family, foundations, turmoil, tragedy, elation, and love. It is a story needed now more than ever.
Main photograph (C) Raul Romo