With a whole lot of name-dropping, Edmund White's latest memoir recounting his life in New York City during the 60s and 70s comes across as pretentious. And that made City Boy a long and tedious read. I suppose if you're a knowledgeable fan of literature from the period, you'd find this book more enjoyable than I did. (And to be honest, even I enjoyed the pretentious name-dropping and stories about art-world personalities like Peggy Guggenheim, Jasper Johns, and others but that's probably because I'm better informed and more interested in the subject matter.) But without the necessary insider knowledge, the book slows to a crawl.
That said, I can't dismiss this book quite so easily. Because hidden between the sheets is an interesting take on being gay at a time when the idea of homosexuality was undergoing major philosophical and political changes. From the wild sexual opportunities in NYC to the early ravages of AIDS, White offers an honest look at what being gay meant in America. While sometimes difficult to follow, City Boy is worth the read for the right audience.