I was so sad when I finished the last of the six books in Armistead Maupin’s “Tales of the City” series. I mourned. I grieved. I turned back to page one and started over again. I did not want to part with his characters.
But today, 20 years later, I can stop grieving and start celebrating (and reading). In honor of Maupin’s latest book, “Michael Tolliver Lives,” Mayor Gavin Newsom has declared June 12 "'Michael Tolliver Day' in San Francisco."
For those lucky enough to have not yet read the books, “the City” is San Francisco, in the 80s. Many of the characters are gay, and the stories begin before the AIDS epidemic, and continue through it. The central character is Michael Tolliver, nicknamed, “Mouse.” The story lines are crazy, hilarious and touching.
More importantly, these were the first gay and lesbian characters I’d ever read about who were not portrayed as disturbed in some way. What a wonderful, liberating feeling that gave. What a gift to be handed a whole new set of people living funny, happy, sad, full, wonderful lives. Some might say I’ve taken these silly fictional books way to seriously, but…hey, I live in my books!
Happy Michael Tolliver Day! Read the books. They are perfect for summer reading!