This powerful work mixes an AIDS account with a history of a spouse’s scandalous behavior.



In this memoir, a writer chronicles his experiences during the AIDS crisis and his husband’s double life, revealing multiple affairs.

Edwards-Stout sets the tone of this book by sharing the story of reading his “civil-union” husband’s email in 2001 only to discover that he was planning to leave him for someone else. Readers will expect the sordid tale of this philandering husband, whom the author refers to as “Eyes,” to follow this opening scene. But the audience must wait for further revelations about Eyes. Instead, the author spends the first half of the memoir recounting growing up in Southern California as a gay man in the 1970s and trying to break into acting in Hollywood after dabbling in theater at UCLA. Telling tales of hobnobbing with stars from that period like Loni Anderson, Jennifer Beals, and Darren McGavin, Edwards-Stout also recounts meeting actors like Mariska Hargitay and Jack Black before they became famous. The author later turned into an activist, working for AIDS Project Los Angeles during the height of the health disaster. The chapters about caring for his lover Shane as he died from the disease in 1995 are the most poignant parts of the work. Edwards-Stout peppers his story with various “Life Lessons” he has picked up throughout his journey that also deftly display his sense of humor. For example: “Never underestimate the impact that walking into a gym shower, only to witness a former boss shaving his balls, can have.” The second part of the engrossing memoir finally divulges Eyes’ outrageous indiscretions: multiple affairs that had him switching out his wedding ring as well as fabricating chemotherapy treatments. The author actually offers two illuminating books here: the moving story of being a gay man in Los Angeles during the AIDS catastrophe and the shocking litany of betrayals by his husband, the father of their adopted son.

This powerful work mixes an AIDS account with a history of a spouse’s scandalous behavior.

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-9839837-5-0

Page Count: 378

Publisher: Circumspect Press

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2020

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A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

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All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.

“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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A virtuoso performance and an ode to an undervalued medium created by two talented artists.



The veteran actor, comedian, and banjo player teams up with the acclaimed illustrator to create a unique book of cartoons that communicates their personalities.

Martin, also a prolific author, has always been intrigued by the cartoons strewn throughout the pages of the New Yorker. So when he was presented with the opportunity to work with Bliss, who has been a staff cartoonist at the magazine since 1997, he seized the moment. “The idea of a one-panel image with or without a caption mystified me,” he writes. “I felt like, yeah, sometimes I’m funny, but there are these other weird freaks who are actually funny.” Once the duo agreed to work together, they established their creative process, which consisted of working forward and backward: “Forwards was me conceiving of several cartoon images and captions, and Harry would select his favorites; backwards was Harry sending me sketched or fully drawn cartoons for dialogue or banners.” Sometimes, he writes, “the perfect joke occurs two seconds before deadline.” There are several cartoons depicting this method, including a humorous multipanel piece highlighting their first meeting called “They Meet,” in which Martin thinks to himself, “He’ll never be able to translate my delicate and finely honed droll notions.” In the next panel, Bliss thinks, “I’m sure he won’t understand that the comic art form is way more subtle than his blunt-force humor.” The team collaborated for a year and created 150 cartoons featuring an array of topics, “from dogs and cats to outer space and art museums.” A witty creation of a bovine family sitting down to a gourmet meal and one of Dumbo getting his comeuppance highlight the duo’s comedic talent. What also makes this project successful is the team’s keen understanding of human behavior as viewed through their unconventional comedic minds.

A virtuoso performance and an ode to an undervalued medium created by two talented artists.

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-26289-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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