Memoirs of a Beautiful Boy

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The Memoirs of a Beautiful Boy is The Houston Press's Best Houston Book of the Year for 2008.

In the Dear John letter Daddy left for Mother and me, on a Saturday afternoon in early June 1996, on the inlaid Florentine table in the front entry of our house, which we found that night upon returning from a day spent in the crème-colored light of Neiman’s, Daddy wrote that he was leaving us because Mother was crazy, and because she’d driven me crazy...

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The Memoirs of a Beautiful Boy is The Houston Press's Best Houston Book of the Year for 2008.

In the Dear John letter Daddy left for Mother and me, on a Saturday afternoon in early June 1996, on the inlaid Florentine table in the front entry of our house, which we found that night upon returning from a day spent in the crème-colored light of Neiman’s, Daddy wrote that he was leaving us because Mother was crazy, and because she’d driven me crazy in a way that perfectly suited her own insanity.

In a memoir studded with delicious lines and unforgettable set pieces, Robert Leleux describes his East Texas boyhood and coming of age under the tutelage of his eccentric, bewigged, flamboyant, and knowing mother.

Left high and dry by Daddy and living on their in-laws’ horse ranch in a white-pillared house they can’t afford, Robert and Mother find themselves chronically low on cash. Soon they are forced into more modest quarters, and as a teenaged Robert watches with hilarity and horror, Mother begins a desperate regimen of makeovers, extreme plastic surgeries, and finally hairpiece epoxies—-all calculated to secure a new, wealthy husband.

Mother’s strategy takes her, with Robert in tow, from the glamorous environs of the Neiman Marcus beauty salon to questionable surgery offices and finally to a storefront clinic on the wrong side of Houston. Meanwhile, Robert begins his own journey away from Mother and through the local theater’s world of miscast hopefuls and thwarted ambitions—-and into a romance that surprises absolutely no one but himself.

Written with a warmth and a wicked sense of fun that lighten even the most awful circumstances, The Memoirs of a Beautiful Boy is a sparkling debut.

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  • The Memoirs of a Beautiful Boy
    The Memoirs of a Beautiful Boy  

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
Southern-fried Sedaris? Barbecued Burroughs? If you're going to be gay in Texas, it's probably best to have a sense of humor. Believe us, Leleux has a wicked one. Want to talk about your sordid, dysfunctional, and totally hilarious childhoods? Then y'all have come to the right memoir. Let's start with dear old mother. Deserted by her husband, living across the road from her hateful in-laws, Leleux's mother does what any self-respecting Texas wife would do -- she gets a job. A boob job, that is. Add to that some lip injections and new hair, and she's ready for the manhunt.

Fully outfitted, Mom goes out looking for a rich new husband and scores a Lubbock millionaire. But she abandons her wedding plans when she meets her "true love" and informs her fiancé that she's canceling their nuptials due to an incurable case of syphilis. Left with his mother's white Jaguar, Leleux is on his own, and he turns to his only remaining family: the local community theater. It is there that he meets the love of his life. More hijinks ensue, but readers will have to discover them for themselves, except for one last comment. Not really meaning to bring up the whole nature-versus-nurture argument here, but how much choice does a young man have when his mother's greatest longing is that her only son grow up to be just like Truman Capote? (Spring 2008 Selection)
From the Publisher
“Winning…sprightly…head tossing, high-strung comedy.”—The New York Times

“Utterly beguiling…witty, irreverent, a romp on paper.” –The Philadelphia Inquirer

“Wonderful—tender, funny, and intelligent.” –The Houston Press

“Wickedly funny and tender…ridiculously tasty.” –The Seattle Times

“For the reader, at least, she will be forever memorable, uniquely, wonderfully, weirdly herself—Jessica Wilson, the mother of a beautiful boy. This hilarious, heartbreaking memoir is a pure joyride for the reader.”—Times-Picayune (New Orleans)

"[Leleux] displays a nice self-effacing wit, a talent for constructing funny scenes, and a genuinely sweet spirit that engages the reader's sympathy." —Booklist

"positive, witty tone" —Connecticut Post

"a charming account" —Just Out

"[Leleux's] funny, but poignant tale of growing up gay with a narcissistic, but lovable and witty mother in Petunia, east Texas, is the new must-read... pitch-perfect sentences that are both heartbreaking and laugh out loud funny" —Washington Blade

"well-wrought... a sweet guy, and he has a nice way with an anecdote." —Austin American-Statesman (Texas)

"wittily written, entertaining...refreshingly clear-eyed."—Salem Press

Janet Maslin
…the book's bright moments arrive with winning regularity. And at his best [Leleux] delivers gallows humor with a sprightly flair…In order to best tell these stories, Mr. Leleux says, he has corrected lighting, reduced puffiness and "altered outmoded skirt lengths," figuratively speaking. This leaves some of his anecdotes sounding too adorable to be true. But mostly they are bright and well chosen, with a sense of the wider world incorporated into even the most parochial boyhood stories.
—The New York Times
Kirkus Reviews
Hothouse recollections of growing up gay. Now 27 and a creative-writing teacher in the New York City public schools, the author was reared in Petunia, Texas. Abandoned by his father on the family ranch with just a Jaguar convertible for transportation, Mother took young Robert to Nieman Marcus in nearby Houston every Saturday to get their hair and nails styled. Mother, a unique personality as her son remembers her, was more luridly glitzy than Mame and more maliciously avaricious. (Her favorite movie: Breakfast at Tiffany's.) Early on, young Robert displayed a heightened sensitivity superior to those of his drab neighbors in their dreary houses. He made clever comments regarding gents in tacky sans-a-belt pants. He was partial to Liza Minnelli, Dina Merrill and-though he was surely prettier-Lillian Hellman. Clearly, here was the next Capote. Despite those Neiman Marcus Saturdays, his gay leanings were apparently unknown to Robert until, at 17 and still in high school, he met dancer Michael, the love of his life. (The couple now lives in New York). The author's slightly histrionic recollections contain over-the-top set pieces regarding his evangelical school, Mother's hair treatment (she winds up with a cheap wig glued to her bald head) and her impromptu boob and lip augmentations. The text is lush with simile, verdant with metaphor and generally permeated with writerly flair. Though the author calls it a memoir, it reads more like a comic novel with considerable theatrical panache. Addressing his readers as "mes petites," the beautiful boy frequently seems to speak to a special audience. Extravagantly solipsistic.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312361693
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 1/6/2009
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 842,770
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Leleux

Robert Leleux teaches creative writing in the New York city schools.  His nonfiction pieces have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Texas Observer, and elsewhere. He lives with his husband, Michael Leleux, in Manhattan.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

In the Dear John letter Daddy left for Mother and me, on a Saturday afternoon in early June 1996, on the inlaid Florentine table in the front entry of our house, which we found that night upon returning from a day spent in the crème-colored light of Neiman’s, Daddy wrote that he was leaving us because Mother was crazy, and because she’d driven me crazy in a way that perfectly suited her own insanity.

We’d just been to the Dairy Queen. My mouth was full of hamburger when I found the letter. Mother still had on the Jackie O sunglasses I’d given her earlier that week for her forty-fifth birthday, and was fumbling on the wall for the light switch. I read through the letter once, fast, and then called to Mother, who read it over slowly, sitting down in one of the low white chairs that lined the hall. Mother didn’t sit as she typically sat, with her calves fixed before her like they were the pillars of her lap. The way Mother sat on the low white chair against the wall of the entry, willowy leaves of yellow legal paper drifting from her thin fingers, her calves looked as though they’d collapsed. She signaled with the letter to the shopping bags beside the front door, their tissue paper poking up like dorsal fins: “All that goes back tomorrow.”

My first reaction to Daddy’s leaving was relief. I was sixteen, and what I wanted most for my mother was a divorce. For years, I’d kept a stack of Mother’s old magazines under my bed, copies of Vanity Fair and Hello!, with dog-eared articles about Pamela Harriman, and ladies for whom the end of marriage was only the beginning of plastic surgery and happy new lives.

One afternoon, while watching Of Human Bondage on the Channel 13 Three O’Clock Million Dollar Movie, when Bette Davis told Leslie Howard, “It made me sick when I let you kiss me. . . . I used to wipe my mouth!” Mother said to me, “Hmm. That’s pretty much the way I feel about your father.”

So my dream was for Mother to leave Daddy. Then we could escape Nana and Papa’s horse ranch outside Petunia, a small town the settlers managed to chop out of The Great Piney Woods of East Texas a hundred miles north of Houston. Between the freeway being rerouted and the recent construction of a Super Wal-Mart outside town, Petunia wasn’t much more than a Dairy Queen, some gas stations, and a funeral home. White-columned and stately, Kahn’s Funeral Home on Main Street was, in fact, the prettiest thing about Petunia, which, in itself, was pretty depressing. “It figures you’d have to die in this town to experience beauty,” Mother said.

Mother spoke in quotable phrases, as though she intended her words to be embroidered. One of her great pleasures was thinking up new ways to describe just how ugly our town was, and the way she’d settled on in the summer of 1996 was to say that Petunia was Where God Stuck The Enema. We lived in what Mother called our South Will Rise Again house, a Greek Revival creation that stank of new money and was practically lacy with pillars and columns and porticos and little moldings of cherubim flying all over the place. It sat in the middle of a flat, empty pasture on my grandparents’ ranch, and in the summer our white house shone like a heat spot from the road.

With her divorce settlement, I dreamt that Mother would move us into a real neighborhood in the city of Houston, shady with fat, mossy live oaks; and I’d wear a blue-blazered uniform to St. John’s or Kincaid, the city’s swank prep schools, instead of attending the fundamentalist Lutheran school that was the best education Petunia had to offer. Once we’d moved, every day could be like our Saturdays at Neiman’s, where Mother and I went to get our hair and nails done at the salon and then go shopping.

But in all the time I’d spent daydreaming about my parents’ divorce, the idea had never occurred to me that Daddy, who looked like an Oscar in a baseball cap—six feet four, bald, and muscle-y, with skin permanently tanned golden brown from long days in the Texas sun—might leave my glamorous, blond Mother.

People thought she was a TV star. Shopgirls would say, “Aren’t you that lady on TV?” By which they meant no one in particular. Sometimes somebody would say Barbara Eden. Sometimes Suzanne Somers. Occasionally Connie Stevens. It’s not that Mother looked like these people—she just looked like someone special. Waiters at posh restaurants like Brennan’s and Tony’s often gave us free food, afraid Mother was a famous person they didn’t recognize who might have them fired for offering less than VIP service. And though by forty-five, Mother’s makeup had grown heavier to shade the tiny wrinkles around her eyes that looked like fractures in a windshield, men in pickup trucks still hung out of their windows to whistle at her on the freeway. “What makes me irresistible,” Mother once asked me, wearing an expression like she’d swallowed sour milk, “to a man in a pickup truck and a baseball cap?”

Despite his Houston Astros cap and his old Dodge pickup, Mother would never have left my father. The reason she’d stayed with him, and the reason his leaving us meant bad trouble, was because Daddy, by himself, had no money. Which was something I always forgot while reading Vanity Fair. Daddy didn’t have any money, because Papa, Daddy’s rich father, had a Bonanza fantasy, to keep his son on his horse ranch at all costs. Nana and Papa paid Daddy a crazy-huge allowance throughout my parents’ marriage, so he would stay on their ranch and use his vet degree to breed and doctor Papa’s champion racehorses. They footed my parents’ bills, bought Mother and Daddy’s cars, and paid off their charge accounts. So, on paper, Daddy was a poor man. And our tacky white house was the only thing in the world my parents really owned, which meant that any divorce settlement would be pitifully small.

Some twenty years earlier, Daddy had fallen in love with Mother at a Steve McQueen movie at the Texas A&M student union, and they’d married while he was still in veterinary school. Mother had been a campus celebrity. She’d earned extra money modeling clothes on local television for Lester’s department store—where her job had been to stare into the camera and whisper “Lester’s” in a way that sounded mysterious and sexy. As a young girl at A&M, Mother had married Daddy, believing his rich parents would eventually make him rich, too, either by setting him up with a trust fund or a business to run. And when that hadn’t happened, she’d stayed for Nana and Papa’s money.

Mother let Daddy’s letter fall to the floor, twisting her engagement ring around her finger. “Jesus God,” she said. “This is a pig fuck.”

“Pig Fuck” was Mother’s phrase for the absolute nadir of something. Lycra was, for instance, the pig fuck of fabrics, with English toile, pimento loaf, Japanese cars, and Miracle Whip serving as further examples. And because Mother was an extreme person, whose circumstances tended to swerve from the best to the worst, our life involved lots of pig fucks. (“There is no such thing,” she once told me, “as a happy medium.”) As a small boy, I’d even seen Mother wrap her white mink around the rickety shoulders of a shivering girl waiting in a January slush outside the Petunia post office. And over the years, Mother had spent every dollar that passed through her checkbook on clothes, jewelry, and luxury vacations. So when Daddy left, taking Nana and Papa’s money with him, Mother and I quickly realized we were nouveau poor. Which was the pig fuck of all time. “As of this minute, Robert,” Mother said, “we have one hundred and twenty-seven dollars in the bank.”

I started to feel queasy, as if the tomato aspic and tiny cucumber sandwiches Mother and I had eaten earlier that afternoon at Neiman’s tearoom were reacting poorly with the Belt Buster I’d gotten at the Dairy Queen. “You’re right,” I told Mother. “This is a pig fuck.”

Mother reread Daddy’s letter a couple of times, then took off her heels, and shrank four inches in five seconds. “He just loves us so much he had to go right out and leave us. Well, I shouldn’t be surprised. What can you expect when you cast pearls at swine?” Then Mother went to the kitchen, and filled an Evian bottle with vodka—something she often did when she was depressed but wanted to appear concerned with physical fitness. “I’m going to bed to watch my movie,” she said.

I knew from long experience that Breakfast at Tiffany’s was Mother’s movie. The VCR was invented for my mother, because if something was good, then more of it was better. When Mother was fond of a movie, like Breakfast at Tiffany’s, she couldn’t watch it too many times. That VHS tape was among the great stabilizing influences of her life; she tended to fall back on it whenever her emotions swung too far in any direction, and particularly when she was depressed. That night, Mother looked like she needed Breakfast at Tiffany’s badly.

I don’t know what I’d expected in a letter from my father explaining the necessity of his leaving me, but Daddy’s letter was, nevertheless, a disappointment. It filled four wandering, rumpled pages, in an ink too bright for its purpose, and was peppered with the same humdrum gripes that filled his regular fights with Mother. That Mother and I hated, and were abjectly humiliated by, his family. That she was never satisfied, and had taught me to be never satisfied, too, and that we both spent his money with disregard. “Nothing’s ever good enough for you two,” Daddy wrote, before starting a sputtering list of the various occasions he’d found our behavior odd, or, rather “unnormal.” Daddy carped that Mother had become obsessed with preserving her youth and beauty. That she’d had her face lifted and hadn’t told him; and that we’d spent his birthday in Rome, and their wedding anniversary in Paris, and hadn’t even telephoned. But soon after Daddy began listing his grievances, the wattage of his fight fell low, and he shortly wound down to signing, “Your Loving Father and Husband, Bob O’Doole.”

I was baffled. I couldn’t imagine him writing such a letter. You could tell Daddy had taken his time in writing it, because sometimes the ink changed color, from blue to black, even in the middle of a sentence. Sometimes his handwriting was hard-pressed and jagged, sometimes faint, as though his words could hardly stand to touch the paper. I tried to imagine Daddy writing—angry, by the cab light of his old pickup that danced with diesel and George Jones songs, or sad, sitting in an empty bathtub in the middle of the night. But I couldn’t, because in my whole life, I’d never seen him write anything longer than a check. And because, while Daddy had plenty of grounds for divorce, I found it deeply peculiar that he’d choose to leave us for a string of petty grievances, instead of one big, overarching outrage. Daddy had always seemed to have the lowest threshold for satisfaction of anybody I’d ever known. As long as he got to spend his days with Papa and the horses, I couldn’t imagine him making big changes in his life, particularly something this drastic. He wasn’t constantly distracted, like Mother and I, by desire. Daddy was living proof of the Buddha’s claim that desire only makes you miserable, but he also proved my belief that desire is the only thing that makes you interesting. My father didn’t want anything, and he was not interesting.

“Ahh,” Daddy had sighed, when I told him, on the night Mother and I returned from our first trip to Manhattan, that when I grew up, I wanted to be a star of New York City; that I wanted to make best friends with Dina Merrill and Kitty Carlisle Hart (who were the two people I’d most often seen photographed in Town & Country, which was another magazine Mother subscribed to); and that I wanted us all to go tap dancing together under the Eloise portrait at the Plaza Hotel, singing “New York, New York” with Liza Minnelli while riding in a carriage through Central Park on our way to Bloomingdale’s. “You’ll grow out of all that,” he said. And then he grinned. Daddy was a grinner. You could watch him idling across Papa’s land, his Astros cap tipped back, and always that same dumb grin. “One day, you’ll realize that everything good about life’s right here. Just like George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life.” It drove me crazy whenever Daddy used It’s a Wonderful Life as a parable. His whole life, he’d had one favorite color (blue, which is practically everybody’s favorite color) and one favorite movie, It’s a Wonderful Life, because it confirmed his perception of the world: that anything that really mattered could be found at your own front door, which in our case was in the middle of Papa’s pasture.

So, as the next few days passed and we didn’t hear from Daddy, I walked around in a state of furious disbelief, wondering how I could have gotten my father so wrong; how a man who seemed as satisfied as he did could suddenly pick up and leave his life. It was positively confounding. But then something happened that made me realize that in his letter Daddy hadn’t expressed a forthright position. Something happened that made me understand that the reason he left Mother and me while we were gone to Neiman Marcus and the Dairy Queen had little to do with however unnormal we happened to be. Daddy decided to leave us because he’d found something new. And Something New was pregnant.

The following week, when Daddy brought Something New, brought Pam, to my mother’s house to pick up his remaining things, a day Mother referred to as The Sacking of Troy, and Pam wore a draping man’s flannel shirt that just revealed a bulging belly too firm for fat, it became quite clear that Daddy’s departure wasn’t nearly so sudden as it seemed, and that he’d considered it, at the very least, since February.

That afternoon Mother didn’t go downstairs, insisting it was beneath her dignity to confront her husband’s mistress in her own front hall. “If your father thinks he’s going to humiliate me in front of That Woman, then he’d just better think again.” I stayed upstairs with Mother, and we both peeked down, from a place on the landing where we knew we wouldn’t be seen. “Let’s see the merchandise they’re peddling these days, Robert,” Mother told me.

While my father rummaged, Pam waited in the front hall. Every part of her body was wiry and hungry looking, except for her huge stomach—which pooched out before her like a python that had swallowed a rabbit. “Look at her,” Mother said, eyeing Pam’s stomach. “Full as a money bag. Full as a deposit slip. . . .

“You know, you stay in a marriage,” she said. “Even when you know it doesn’t work, because . . . it works in the way it doesn’t work. In a way that starting over . . . from scratch . . . does not work.

“Oh, Robert,” said Mother, “it is time for me to start over from scratch.”

Copyright © 2007 by Robert Leleux. All rights reserved.

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Table of Contents

Something New     1
Texas Blonde     11
All or Nothing     26
French Leave     37
The Lady Vanishes     47
Pig Fuck     64
Crazy Glue     78
A Fool's Paradise     99
A Woman Who Arranges Things     110
Jesus Hates a Vacuum     121
The Miracle Worken     132
A Mother Knows     143
The Russians Are Coming     155
A Bolt from the Blue     167
Safe as Houses     178
The Fire Next Time     189
Half a Loat     201
Loose Lips Sink Ships     214
Do I Hear a Waltz?     228
Sons & Lovers     240
Next Year in Jerusalem     252
Epilogue: Encore! Encore!     265
Darlings, Suffen the Gratitude     269
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Reading Group Guide


A Few Words from Mother


To the Readers of My Genius Son’s Book,


Everywhere I go with Robert, people ask me, “Don’t you mind the things your son writes about you? The wigs, the plastic surgery, the vomit...”And my answer is no, it doesn’t bother me that Robert writes about it, it bothers me that I had to live through it.


Most of the events Robert recounts in this book occurred during the most god-awful time. And though, in looking back, I can see that much of my behavior was, well, unusual, it all seemed so reasonable at the time. Which brings me to another thing people tend to ask me when I’m out with Robert: “What have you learned from the experiences you’ve lived through?”


And my answer is “Nothing.” “Nothing?” they repeat. “Well, I wouldn’t shave my head again.” Because that really wasn’t a good idea. But again, at the time, it seemed entirely logical. Which tends to be the way with life. It seems you can operate with complete certainty, and still, in the long run, be completely wrong. Shit. Wrong and stubborn really is a terrible combination.

But of course, you don’t know that until much later. Sometimes not until your son writes a book about it. And that, in its own way, is a marvelous consolation, because at least something good and funny came out of the lousy times.


At least Robert can see the humor in the really terrible decisions I made, instead of just silently resenting me for them, like the children of every other woman in every other country club in America. As it turns out, I’ve had bad luck with all the men of my life, except my son. There hasn’t been a single moment of his life when I haven’t worshipped and adored Robert, and now there’s a book to prove it. With a beautiful picture of us on the cover. Heavenly.


Much love,



Swoon by Victoria Redel


When I was sixteen, my mother offered me fifteen hundred dollars if I swore never, ever to read her another poem I hadn’t written. I cashed her check, but I’ve cheated once or twice. And the only time it’s ever ended happily was when I discovered this poem, written by my super-hot friend Victoria Redel, from her book Swoon. Mother says that more than anything she’s ever encountered, this poem expresses the way she felt raising a gay son. It’s very lovely, and I hope readers will love it, too.


Tell me it’s wrong the scarlet nails my son sports or the toy store rings he clusters four jewels to each finger. He’s bedecked. I see the other mothers looking at the star choker, the rhinestone strand he fastens over a sock. Sometimes I help him find sparkle clip-ons when he says sticker earrings look too fake. Tell me I should teach him it’s wrong to love the glitter that a boy’s only a boy who’d love a truck with a remote that revs, battery slamming into corners or Hot Wheels loop-de-looping off tracks into the tub.


Then tell me it’s fine—really—maybe even a good thing—a boy who’s got some girl to him, and I’m right for the days he wears a pink shirt on the seesaw in the park.


Tell me what you need to tell me but keep far away from my son who still loves a beautiful thing not for what it means— this way or that—but for the way facets set off prisms and prisms spin up everywhere and from his own jeweled body he’s cast rainbows— made every shining true color.


Now try to tell me—man or woman—your heart was ever once that brave.


Excerpted from Swoon by Victoria Redel. © 2003 The University of Chicago Press

Reprinted with permission.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 25 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 25 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2010

    A hoot and a half!

    I loved every minute of this book. It's wicked funny and smart, and a really good time. Also, I think the writing is beautiful. I would recommend this book to anybody who wants to laugh their behind off.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2009

    really funny

    this book caught me by surprise. i thought it would just be a light, fun read, but then, it turned into something even better. don't get me wrong. it was funny, but it's also a read that's really stayed with me. robert lelux is a writer to watch.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2009


    What a charming story. Really funny and original, and unexpectedly thoughtful. Highly recommended.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 30, 2009

    more from this reviewer


    The introduction sounded so fascinating. I found myself trying to like, or at least find the author's mother funny. Nope! Okay, then I waited to be touched or warmed by the writer himself. Nope! As for his writing style, I think we can look forward to some great things in the future. Just not so great the first step of the dance.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 25, 2009

    Read this hilarious memoir!!

    In "The Memoirs of a Beautiful Boy", Robert Leleux (nee O'Doole) paints a living, vivid picture of his teenage years. He shares the engaging story of life with his flamboyant mother and later, his future spouse, with exceptional flair and keen humor. The book begins in June, 1996, when at 16 years of age, his father abandons Jessica, his mother, and him in tiny Petunia, Texas with very little money. At this point, the relationship between mother and son is remarkably touching...and just a little bit unusual! They both love to go shopping and also enjoy driving to Neiman Marcus in Houston for their weekly hair and nail appointments. Post-abandonment, Jessica ardently strives to rejuvenate her appearance with plastic surgery and a hairpiece attachment so she can hook a new, rich husband. Meanwhile, Robert joins a Houston theater company, where he realizes he is gay and madly in love with choreographer Michael Leleux. Robert is lovingly welcomed into the Leleux household. Mr. Leleux is a magnificently talented writer who truly has a gift for drawing us in. His vivacious style, with its funny, 'snappy one-liners', was utterly captivating. The descriptions of his mother's beauty makeovers were simply hilarious! However, I can certainly relate to Jessica's desire to enhance her appearance in today's youth and beauty-obsessed culture. As I read, I was reminded of an important lesson. Mr. Leleux's sense of humor carried him through his life struggles. To be able to survive anything, a sense of humor is essential, even in the most dire circumstances. I absolutely LOVED this thoroughly entertaining memoir and I very HIGHLY recommend it!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 16, 2009


    This book was funny, sad and also touching. Different plot but very enlightening. The author describes characters well, and he touches your heart.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 22, 2009

    I Was Laughing Out Loud

    This book was really enjoyable. Robert Leleux writes with such humor! I hardly put this book down once I started reading it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2008

    Hilarious Fun!!!

    this book made me laugh and cry, in all the right places!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2008

    Beauty Should Have been Enough

    Beauty is often said to be shallow,and this book regrettably serves as support to this cliche.The mother character is an embarrassing throwback stereotype,focusing on physical appeal and feminine wiles to 'get a man' to insure her financial comfort while bewailing her 'sacrifice'. The son-narrator is all sharp tongue and general helplessness. There are witty lines, but overall they do not and cannot add enough substance to otherwise pointless ramblings about lives that for me held no interest.In the end, the only reaction was,'So what?'

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2008

    Wonderful read

    I had the pleasure of meeting Robert, Michael, Jessica, & Robert's father during our Pulpwood Queen's meeting. They were all fantastic. I read the book as soon as I got home. I could not put it down. It was so good. I only wish I could have met his Mom. She sounds like a real character. I love her sayings that she uses in the book. The love story of Robert & Michael is so heart warming & they are still in love through all they have been through is saying a lot.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2008

    An upscale Fried Green Tomatoes

    Just when I thought it would be impossible for a writer to make me laugh and cry, and in one book no less, Robert Leleux manages the unexpected! But the best part is that the tears were tears of joy and that the laughter was belly laughter. I laughed so hard, in fact, that my husband ran up the stairs to check on me. The Memoirs of a Beautiful Boy is an improbable tale. Leleux, in a startlingly approachable voice, has managed to weave tragedy into hilarity with stories recalling the end of his teenage years, his Texas cowboy-father and southern-belle-mother, their messy divorce, and most memorably, his newly divorced mother's desperate attempts to remake herself with plastic surgery and glued on wigs. Like Augusten Burroughs, Leleux's tales are extreme. However, unlike Burroughs, a sweetness permeates even the darkest of moments. So much so, in fact, that I, too, loved his parents by the end of the book 'hence the tears'. I highly recommend this book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2008

    One of the best

    I just finished this book and I have to say I laughed out loud. I want to meet Robert, his mother and Michael after reading this book. This was one of the best!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2008

    Funny, Heart Warming, and Memorable

    Memoirs of a beautiful boy is hysterical, heartwarming and joy to read. Robert Leluex seems like a remarkable young man and you can't help but get caught up in the his story. His Mother is the character to say the least and I wonder where Robert would be life if he never meet Michael. I am left wanting to know more of what happens to Mother, Robert and Michael. Robert is still young I look forward to a sequel.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2008

    Loved it!

    I just finished this book and absolutely loved it! The book is so entertaining and funny - I laughbed out loud, however, then I remembered that this was a true story and I was very touched and enlightened. I highly recommend this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2008

    A reviewer

    The Memoirs of A Beautiful Boy is an outstanding debut. If you and your friend sat around with Memoirs, you would quote and laugh for hours. Fill your Evian bottles with vodka and hand over your psyches.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2013

    Not good

    Didn't care for this book. While slighty amusing at times, the author comes across as shallow, the stories are not compelling. Noone to route for.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2013


    One of the most talented wordsmith I have read! Robert will have you screaming with laughter...if you are a gay man you will identify with him. And if you are s straight woman, as I am, who is fortunate to have several gay men in my life - you will feel as though you are standing beside him in the majority of his well described scenarios. As for lesbian women and straight men - the sheer humor of Robert's story telling will amuse you.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2010

    funniest i've read in a while

    i'm not gay and i've never been to texas and even still this is the funniest thing i've read in a long long time.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2009


    this book is a blast! i laughed, i cried. terrific!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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