The Best Little Boy in the World Grows Up Summary

Andrew Tobias

The Best Little Boy in the World Grows Up

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

THE BEST LITTLE BOY IN THE WORLD GROWS UP tells the story of a mature Andrew Tobias, openly gay and accepting of self. His “John Reid” pseudonym, which protected his sexual identity even from his parents in the original “best boy” book, THE BEST LITTLE BOY IN THE WORLD (1973), gives way to the contemporary content Andrew Tobias. A successful writer know for investment advice, Tobias advises his current audience about how it is to be gay in 1990’s America. His prose is funny, light-hearted, and at times poignant.

Tobias’ twenty-five year odyssey roughly parallels that of the gay rights movement. His struggle is that of the gay everyman. As a child, he internalized the common assumption that gay is bad; straight is normal. While he felt attracted to boys, he repressed the gay label as well as his feelings. He resolutely and carefully protected his secret from almost everyone, including his family. Growing up, Tobias gradually made peace with who he is, finding commitment and ultimately contentment, and discovering that being openly gay in the late 1990’s in America is not so bad.

The book documents the intersection of Tobias’ life with prominent contemporary figures, everyday friends who share his life, and many who unfairly and without knowledge critique a gay lifestyle. Readers may find his serial accounts of romantic relationships and gala events a bit tedious, but they will appreciate from the inside his virulent struggle to find himself and to champion the rights of homosexuals. He takes seriously his own advice that “the importance of unself-conscious humor in all . . . cannot be overlooked.” This humor plays well in a thoroughly enjoyable book. As they share his journey, readers will likely agree with the author that getting older is “almost fun.”