Paul Monette’s National Book Award–winning memoir hailed as a classic coming-out story
Paul Monette grew up all-American, Catholic, overachieving . . . and closeted. As a child of the 1950s, a time when a kid suspected of being a “homo” would routinely be beaten up, Monette kept his secret throughout his adolescence. He wrestled with his sexuality for the first thirty years of his life, priding himself on his ability to “pass” for straight. The story of his journey to adulthood and to self-acceptance with grace and honesty, this intimate portrait of a young man’s struggle with his own desires is witty, humorous, and deeply felt.
Before his death of complications from AIDS in 1995, Monette was an outspoken activist crusading for gay rights. Becoming a Man shows his courageous path to stand up for his own right to love and be loved.
This ebook features an illustrated biography of Paul Monette including rare images and never-before-seen documents from the Paul Monette papers of the UCLA Library Special Collections.
“Fiercely committed to bequeathing a map of his psychic terrain, to spare others the pain of his solitary journey, his fine memoir is affirmative and ultimately celebratory.” —The New York Times
“This is a voice forever on the side of freedom and desire, love and possibility. This memoir’s the burning trace of a singular, brave soul: timeless, contrary, and passionately alive.” —Mark Doty
“This seminal book is everything Monette himself was: angry, honest, witty, and profoundly romantic. Nothing—not even his own vanity—escapes his unflinching gaze as he dissects the shame and subterfuge of the closet.” —Armistead Maupin
“Monette’s interior life, his ghosts, his turmoil, his final peace—in Becoming a Man, they have become our literature.” —David Ebershoff
Paul Monette (1945–1995) was an author, poet, and gay rights activist. Born in Massachusetts and educated at Yale University, he moved with his partner Roger Horwitz to Los Angeles in 1978 and became involved in the gay rights movement. Monette’s writing captures the sense of heartbreak and loss at the center of the AIDS crisis. His first novel, Taking Care of Mrs. Carroll, was published in 1978, and he went on to write several more works of fiction, poetry, and memoir. Borrowed Time: An AIDS Memoir, the tender account of his partner’s battle with the disease, earned him both PEN Center West and Lambda Literary Awards. In 1992, Monette won the National Book Award in Nonfiction for Becoming a Man: Half a Life Story, an autobiography detailing his early life and his struggle with his sexuality. Written as a classic coming-of-age story, Becoming a Man became a seminal coming-out story. In 1995, Monette founded the Monette-Horwitz Trust, which honors individuals and organizations working to combat homophobia. Monette died in his home in West Hollywood in 1995 of complications from AIDS.