Thursday, January 22, 2015
New Gay Biographies
Late 2014 offers three quite different choices of gay autobiography. Which one will did you find under your rainbow Christmas tree?
Witi Ihimaera takes you inside his childhood years living as an urbanised Maori in a European world, very aware of his ancestral connections and customs. Maori Boy: A Memoir is very personal and meanders its way delightfully as you learn about how Witi is Witi. He himself admits that this spiralling story is the Maori way. He can only be himself if his ancestors are explained and acknowledged. They had big families so there lots of them to cover. His life has been one of two conflicting realities. "Many are the childhood scrapes I got into when I would insist otherwise. After all to accept the Pakeha view would have been to erase myself. It created a new narrative that displaced the old."
Always a man who lives his life his way, Graham Norton eschews a straightforward autobiography to instead riff on the things that make his life happy. When you delve intoThe Life and Loves of a He Devil you will discover what he thinks of dogs, making TV shows, men and booze, but not necessarily in that order. He has lots of time for his Mum and his many exes. This book fills in the gaps for the times we haven't been seeing him on our screens. Did you know he has worked and lived in America? With homes in London, Cork and New York it seems he has done very well for himself and the man on telly is the man you meet in this accessible book.
And thirdly our favourite witterer of all Mr Stephen Fry with his third autobiographical instalment More Fool Me. His writing style is flowery, unique and wonderful. " I'm going to be 36 tomorrow: three dozen, a quarter of a gross. A very favourable number, but otherwise nothing special." This is the book of his adult years. He is self deprecating, clever and in many ways exhibits characteristics we all have, but with him they are certainly amplified. These include his tendency to become absolutely obsessed with anything that captures his interest. This includes computers, snooker ad drugs but seldom popular celebrities. He freely admits that his upbringing has almost turned him into an upper class tosser.
The gay life story has become mainstream. Otherwise these three books wouldn't be published. Each will have its own audience. With a bit of thought and some pretty wrapping paper you should be able to select a gift for someone special from these this season. And then grab a chance in the New Year to read it for yourself.
First published at www.gayexpress.co.nz