2.0 out of 5 stars
Like visiting old friends--- and really wanting to leave!, Oct 8 2008
Having read each of the Tales of City trilogy books, I was not a nauvice to Armistead Maupin's style. The first three books were wildly entertaining and so wonderful to consume. Every chapter lead you wanting to move to the next.
I had stopped reading Maupin's books for some time and when I saw "Michael Tolliver Lives" on the shelf, I snatched up, darted home, put on my favourite slippers and curled up in a comfy chair. I was so excited to get reintroduced to Michael--- more mature and so much wiser. It was like seeing an old friend.
But something was different. I realized that Michael was talking to me in the first person. His story wasn't being told to me, rather he was his own narator. I wasn't used to this, and it didn't work for me. Along with age and wisdom, Michael seemed to lose his edge. His first person perspective didn't endear me to him. As I read on, I found I wasn't picturing my old friend Michael, rather I was envisioning the author.
Rather than an extention of the "Tales" books, it came across as more of an memoir. Michael's young lover Ben could be Armistead's husband--- it seems there was a lot of the author's current life injected into this. It had interesting moments, but I found the overall experience someone lacklustre.
Even Anna, once the wildly excentric matriarch, seemed to somewhat dour compared to her days on Barbery Lane. It was good to get caught up with Brian and Marianne and some of the newer characters added some charm. His partner Ben, however, became increasingly annoying as the chapters went on. Is anyone that understanding? He seemed more an idealized figment than a real person. Was it wrong to wish that good ole Mikey would snap out of it and leave Ben in Orlando?
While it was nice to get caught up, my visit with my old friends made me realize, we'd all changed and had very little in common. We wished each other well and parted ways.