The House of Hidden Meanings: A Memoir

The House of Hidden Meanings: A Memoir

by RuPaul

Narrated by RuPaul

Unabridged — 7 hours, 7 minutes

The House of Hidden Meanings: A Memoir

The House of Hidden Meanings: A Memoir

by RuPaul

Narrated by RuPaul

Unabridged — 7 hours, 7 minutes

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Overview

Notes From Your Bookseller

RuPaul has written books before, but here he digs deeper than ever before in this moving and personal exploration of what it was like growing up queer and Black. These are stories you've never heard before from a global icon.

***An Instant #1 New York Times Bestseller!***

From international drag superstar and pop culture icon RuPaul, comes his most revealing and personal work to date--a deeply intimate memoir of discovery, found family, and self-acceptance. The House of Hidden Meanings is a self-portrait of the legendary icon on the road to global fame and changing the way the world thinks about drag.

Central to RuPaul's success has been his chameleonic adaptability. From drag icon to powerhouse producer of one of the world's largest television franchises, RuPaul's ever-shifting nature has always been part of his brand as both supermodel and supermogul. Yet that adaptability has made him enigmatic to the public. In this memoir, his most intimate and detailed book yet, RuPaul makes himself truly known.

In The House of Hidden Meanings, RuPaul strips away all artifice and recounts the story of his life with breathtaking clarity and tenderness, bringing his signature wisdom and wit to his own biography. From his early years growing up as a queer Black kid in San Diego navigating complex relationships with his absent father and temperamental mother, to forging an identity in the punk and drag scenes of Atlanta and New York, to finding enduring love with his husband Georges LeBar and self-acceptance in sobriety, RuPaul excavates his own biography life-story, uncovering new truths and insights in his personal history.

Here in RuPaul's singular and extraordinary story is a manual for living-a personal philosophy that testifies to the value of chosen family, the importance of harnessing what makes you different, and the transformational power of facing yourself fearlessly.

A profound introspection of his life, relationships, and identity, The House of Hidden Meanings is a self-portrait of the legendary icon on the road to global fame and changing the way the world thinks about drag. “I've always loved to view the world with analytical eyes, examining what lies beneath the surface. Here, the focus is on my own life-as RuPaul Andre Charles,” says RuPaul.

If we're all born naked and the rest is drag, then this is RuPaul totally out of drag. This is RuPaul stripped bare.*


Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

03/04/2024

Drag queen RuPaul (GuRu) excavates his childhood, early romances, and rise to fame in this unvarnished personal history. He begins in 1960s San Diego, where he lived with his fiery mother, self-absorbed father, and three sisters until his parents divorced. At 15, he moved with his sister, Renetta, and her husband to Atlanta, where he eventually dropped out of high school and fell in with the city’s bohemian art scene. The memoir luxuriates in this period, recounting the author’s tumultuous affairs, early dabblings with drag, and eventual move to New York City, where he and his former Atlanta BFF Lady Bunny rose to rule the downtown scene. Unlike the performer’s featherweight previous autobiographies (including 1995’s Lettin’ It All Hang Out), the tone here is intimate, almost conspiratorial, which both helps and hurts. On the one hand, he discusses his substance abuse and lifelong sexual insecurity with sometimes-stunning candor; on the other, he offers up some alarming pop psychology pablum, including the assertion that his father’s provincial family were “still slaves” who were “afraid of everything.” Fans looking for dishy Drag Race drama will be disappointed—the volume ends well before the show’s premiere—but readers eager for a peek behind RuPaul’s glamorous persona will get just what they came for. Agent: Cait Hoyt, CAA. (Mar.)

From the Publisher

"RuPaul writes with a maturity that readers can sense he earned early in life and a memory that brings alive moments both outrageous and transcendent. Touching also on belonging, love, and sobriety, this vibrant and multifaceted celebrity memoir will have readers rapt." — Booklist (starred review)

"RuPaul punctuates his life story with knowledgeable opinions on issues like systemic oppression, Black victimization, and the queer community…fans will undoubtedly devour this meticulously recollected, heartfelt excavation of his life’s highs and lows. A highly candid, empowering celebrity self-portrait." — Kirkus Reviews

"A probing, emotionally raw memoir that’s an introspective examination of RuPaul’s family and the issues he confronted before embracing self-love." — Library Journal (starred review)

“[In The House of Hidden Meanings] RuPaul excavates his childhood, early romances, and rise to fame in this unvarnished personal history…intimate, almost conspiratorial, readers eager for a peek behind RuPaul’s glamorous persona will get just what they came for.” — Publishers Weekly

“RuPaul is a beautiful soul, and never has that beauty been more on display than in the pages of The House of Hidden Meanings. This memoir contains all the nuances of RuPaul’s story previously unknown, filled with universal and necessary truths everyone should embrace about identity and acceptance.” — Jane Fonda, Academy Award winning actress

"RuPaul will live forever. Like Cleopatra. Like Shakespeare. Not only as a creator but as a teacher and great source of inspiration. His memoir is deeply felt and beautifully written." — Isaac Mizrahi, producer & fashion icon

"More invaluable wisdom from my favorite GuRu." — Thandiwe Newton, Emmy & BAFTA award winning actress

“RuPaul’s memoir is brilliant, bold, beautiful, and brave.  This book has balls." — Michael Patrick King, writer/director Sex and the City and ...And Just Like That

"RuPaul has poured his soul into his biography. And it’s a beautiful one." — Lee Daniels, director

"There are few people in history who can invent themselves and, through sheer love and determination, can transcend that invention. Bowie was one of those people and so is RuPaul. His taste is impeccable, and his soul is a shining thing. This book crisscrosses the United States like a cross-dressing On The Road. Pathos, wisdom and humor collide to enlighten the reader—it sounds like a cliché, but I just could not put it down." — Daphne Guinness, fashion designer, actress, and musician

Library Journal

★ 03/01/2024

RuPaul's memoir is the polar opposite of his breezy 1995 autobiography, Letting It All Hang Out. In this book, the drag superstar, Tony Award winner and 12-time Emmy winner, bares his soul about his dysfunctional family and the battles he has fought. He eloquently excavates old memories of growing up in San Diego with three sisters and a flinty and hot-tempered mother. Although he learned independence and self-sufficiency from his mother, she often told him (even when he was as young as five) that he was too sensitive and pensive. When his father left the family, his mother was bedridden for years. At 15, he moved in with one of his older sisters and her husband in Atlanta. By age 21, he had found supportive friends and experimented with non-glamorous, thrift-store drag items that were more punk than disco. After several attempts to live in New York City (often couch surfing or sleeping in parks), RuPaul reinvented himself and found success with the 1993 single "Supermodel (You Better Work)." VERDICT A probing, emotionally raw memoir that's an introspective examination of RuPaul's family and the issues he confronted before embracing self-love.—Kevin Howell

FEBRUARY 2024 - AudioFile

Pop culture drag star RuPaul's soft narration opens with sensory details that evoke the power of memory. His gentle voice allows listeners to enter early scenes of his life in San Diego that are not always easy--waiting for his father who never shows up, arriving home for lunch to find a locked door. Within those scenes are wise reflections about the world around him and his place in it, especially when he goes to Atlanta and finally finds his tribe. As his evolving eccentricities gain him popularity, RuPaul leads listeners through eras of disco, punk, and new wave music. His candid warmth is an invitation to accompany him as he discovers fame, love, sobriety and, most importantly, his unvarnished self. S.W. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2024, Portland, Maine

Kirkus Reviews

2024-01-25
The trailblazing “mother” of all drag queens unpacks the baggage of his childhood, broken family, and adventuresome adulthood.

RuPaul (b. 1960), the pioneering creator of RuPaul’s Drag Race, writes eloquently about his early decades. While his fearless mother taught him independence and self-sufficiency, his father offered largely indifference and disappointment. “My inheritance from my father was a stage presence,” writes the author, which has served him well across a dazzling career of iconic performances and appearances. As he recounts, he was 12 when his “secret girl” awakened, spurred by the film Cleopatra Jones, and in his early teen years, he took inspiration from Anne Francis, Cher, and Diana Ross, among other significant cultural figures. In the progressive Atlanta of the 1970s and ’80s, RuPaul studied performing arts and experimented with drugs before acknowledging that “the promise of New York was irresistible.” In NYC, he writes, “I was finally getting sexual attention, but it was by disguising myself. I was only doing drag as a joke. But suddenly it seemed like the joke was on me. Back then, my drag wasn’t yet refined in the way it would become.” Despite being “treated with disdain” by many of the “cool kids of the downtown scene,” RuPaul persevered for years, eventually finding massive success. The author writes poignantly about meeting the love of his life, Georges LeBar, on a Manhattan dance floor, as well as the bittersweet evolution of their relationship. While RuPaul punctuates his life story with knowledgeable opinions on issues like systemic oppression, Black victimization, and the queer community, he occasionally dampens the intensity of the narrative with saccharine platitudes about inner magic and strength, or how “it’s the ego that grips, and nonattachment is the path to freedom.” Nonetheless, RuPaul fans will undoubtedly devour this meticulously recollected, heartfelt excavation of his life’s highs and lows.

A highly candid, empowering celebrity self-portrait.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940159486912
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication date: 03/05/2024
Edition description: Unabridged
Sales rank: 245,569
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