A child of the 1950s from a small New England town, “perfect Paul” earns straight A’s and scholarships and shines in social and literary pursuits, all the while keeping a secret—from himself and the rest of the world. Struggling to be or at least to imitate a straight man, through Ivy League halls of privilege and bohemian travels abroad, loveless intimacy, and unrequited passion, Paul Monette was haunted, and finally saved, by a dream—“The thing I’d never even seen: two men in love and laughing.” This searingly honest, witty, and humane merging of memoir and manifesto has become the definitive coming out story—and a classic of the coming-of-age genre. It was awarded the 1992 National Book Award for nonfiction.
Paul Monette (1945-1995) was the author of many books, including seven novels, four volumes of poetry, and several highly praised nonfiction works. In 1992, he received the National Book Award for Becoming a Man. He died of AIDS complications in 1995.