am 29. Februar 2012
I would like to stress that this review is solely intended to address the conversion to the Kindle format!
This ebook is a very good example how it should not be done: The first impression was good, standard chapters work, cover included what you would expect of a good conversion. The text itself however is littered with errors, missing characters or even words (which are substituted by a "?"), stray breaks in the middle of sentences, sometimes _very_ arbitrary capitalization. Amazon (or whoever does the conversions) should really work on that.
am 8. April 1999
An infuriating mix. After the high-jinks and high camp of the previous five books in the series, this is a pretty sombre way to finish off. There are betrayals and recriminations, accusations and tears, and the whole thing is underpinned by a subtext of rotting friendships which easily sours the tone of the preceeding books in the series. And gee, Armistead, what did Mary-Ann ever do to you? The sweet-natured perky Cleveland girl has metamophosed into an arch bitch who'll climb over corpses to get to centre stage. I'm not sure who he's based her on (the creature from Aliens, perhaps?), but she ain't pretty!
On the upside, there's Maupin's usual incredible talent shining through - the plotting is tighter than ever, the characters are as loveable as ever (see above for the exception), his dialogue is unmatched by any other writer, the politics are laser sharp, and there are certain scenes which quiver with such restrained anger and tension that the hairs on the neck stand on end. It may not be as much fun as before, but like the wonderful Anna Madrigal, Maupin has matured with grace and style - and that alone earns the book five stars.
am 18. Juni 1999
Armistead Maupin wrote two dynamite novels in the series, *Tales of the City*, and then kind of ran out of steam. I found *Babycakes* to be more satisfying than the previous book (which featured the Reverend Jim Jones, among other absurdities), but it clearly is not as inspired as the first two novels in this series.
Maupin is at his witty and irreverent best in his depiction of the small details related to the life and times of his characters. The plot of this story, however, borders on the inane at times. There are too many unbelievable coincidences, too many fortuitous events and moments. I also have grown weary of the ever-present subtexts of gay/lesbian hipness and the shallow Wonderfulness of the transsexual Anna Madrigal. This all seemed kind of refreshing twenty years ago, but by now it comes across as tiresome and preachy. Of course, this book was written in the early eighties, so it may just be a case of the material becoming somewhat dated.
The book makes for a quick, easy, and fun read. Great literature, however, it's not.
am 17. Juni 2000
I guess Maupin just ran out of steam. He should have done the decent thing after More Tales.. and let 28 Barbary Lane drift over the Reichenbach Falls. The series started with some great books, with interesting characters he clearly felt sympathy for. By book 3 (Further Tales...) he was introducing increasingly improbable characters (Jim Jones, alive and well and living in Golden Gate Park!), but enough weird plot interest to keep me going to the end of the book. Babycakes doesn't even do that. He's made a big mistake by moving the action from SanFrancisco to the UK - he loves S.F. and the way of life there is a great theme. He doesn't get England the same way, and even gets his facts wrong. There are two really good books in this series, but this isn't one.
am 14. April 1999
In _Tales of the City_ Maupin allowed us to fall in love with an extraordinary cast of characters. In _Sure of You_, we come to the inevitable, heartbreaking conclusion at the end of all love affairs--that many of these characters are not, and possibly were never, as worthy of our affections as we first surmised. Is this a disappointment or a revelation? Whatever it is, it's not what you'd expect from Maupin. His character development in this novel is nothing short of masterful, but for obvious reasons, the overall effect isn't quite as breathtaking as his superb _Significant Others_. _Sure of You_ isn't my favorite book in the series, but it may be the wisest.
am 3. Oktober 1998
I loved the other "Tales of City" books. They are funny, sweet, and addictive. This rating is not meant to discourage any readers who have begun the series, since I know you could not stop even if you wanted to. It is just a warning that there is more heartbreak than laughter ahead. It has to be expected in the transition from the care-free seventies to are more responsible decade.
am 1. Juli 2003
If you've never been there, if you are not planning to go - no problem, if you have read this book, you felt the vibe of San Francisco.
You meet a house full of totally different people, you have a look into there live. And if you go on reading the following parts of the city tales, it's gonna be a deep look...
am 24. Juni 1999
Tales of The City captures the very spirit of San Francisco in the 1970's, as the spirit of the city, which surely is represented by the nickname 'Frisco, died. The City was not moral, nor neat. The victorians were seedy, the City in decay. But, nonetheless, Maupin describes the city as it was; determined to have a good time as it always had. Maupin depicts the economic classes as if he knew them intimately, and portrays the provincialism as it exists, without making the City look the worse for it. I moved here in part because of these books, having awakened in me as they did, the memory of the San Francisco I knew, just after I cut the apron strings and was sent here by Uncle Sam. It is a different place today. Tales of The City captures it as it was. Yea, the people were lonely, they did a lot of drugs, had a lot of meaningless sex, and ended up in the 'eighties none the less. But didn't we all? The story is entertaining, especially when viewed for itself: it was a newspaper article. Unless your morality is a vague as your sexuality, Tales of The City will transport you to the recent past, in an age where we can't believe that history was actually being made, but it was, and we might have been there, but for some twist of fate, or geography. If it corrupts you...you were probably corrupted to begin with, and just waiting to be swept away.
am 22. Februar 1999
After hearing so much about this book from so many people for such a long time, I walked out of the bookstore very excited and ready to immerse myself in the imaginary world of 28 Barbary Lane. I read a few chapters, surprised at the lack of eloquence, the shallow characters and the non-existence of a plotline. Surely, I thought, San Francisco's defining novel has to extend beyond the bedside adventures of a group of roughly drawn charicatures. Okay, I thought, I'd better stick with it; after all, with so much buzz, this has got to be a great piece of literature. But alas, the more I read, the more trite it got, until I was left with the sense of chewing a less than flavorful gum for much too long. What a disappointment! This might have been very daring in the 1970s with its open-minded take on gays, but today -- when thankfully society has become much more accepting -- it feels very, very dated. If anything, it serves as a telling "period piece" for the 1970s, reflecting much of the era's self-centeredness and superficiality, seasoned with some of the preachiness of the 1960s. However, since the author is clearly part of that culture instead of a critical observer, the lessons learned for the readers are limited.
am 14. September 1998
Perhaps it's a bit of Californian bias that I select this particular book; I am a California native and it's this that makes Tales of the City all the more familiar to me. The story began as a weekly serial for the San Francisco Chronicle back in the early seventies, before I was even born. Still, generational differences don't keep one from getting sucked into the world of Anna Madrigal, Michal "Mouse" Tolliver and all those who reside at 28 Barbary Lane.
It's hard to know where to begin when describing this series. Maupin's writing is descriptive, yet it doesn't trespass the way other authors might, as they try too hard to convey their "vision" to the reader. Maupin prefers to sit back and let the reader draw - or jump to - their own conclusions. He enjoys cliffhangers, melodrama and even blatant shock tactics to keep the reader's attention, and it's these things that remind you that this world was born in the pages of a newspaper. Despite the simplicity to Maupin's work, he still manages to create the most intricate, involved world of people living, working and loving in San Francisco.
The characters, of course, are what make the book: Mary Ann Singleton, the Ohio transplant searching for meaning to her life, Brian Hawkins, the aging gigolo, Michael Mouse, the hopeless romantic looking for Mister Right, Mona Ramsey, the hippy in denial, and of course, Mrs. Madrigal, the landlady of Barbary Lane and "Mother Of Us All". With these few characters, Maupin creates an entire world that, when you close the book, stays with you. It never goes away.
The interlocking storylines, plot twists, turns and five-car pileups inspire a special kind of tolerance in the reader, for you never know when your favorite character and the villain will cross paths with one another and a complete role-reversal will occur. This is a must-read for anyone interested in the human condition.
The only downside is that you actively miss these people when you stop reading. Then you only have to pick up the books and read them again. I do it all the time.