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Mama's Boy  By  cover art

Mama's Boy

By: Dustin Lance Black
Narrated by: Dustin Lance Black
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Publisher's summary

This heartfelt, deeply personal memoir explores how one a celebrated filmmaker and activist and his conservative Mormon mother built bridges across today’s great divides - and how our stories hold the power to heal.

Dustin Lance Black wrote the Oscar-winning screenplay for Milk and helped overturn California’s anti-gay marriage Proposition 8, but as an LGBTQ activist he has unlikely origins - a conservative Mormon household outside San Antonio, Texas. His mother, Anne, was raised in rural Louisiana and contracted polio when she was two years old. She endured brutal surgeries, as well as braces and crutches for life, and was told that she would never have children or a family. Willfully defying expectations, she found salvation in an unlikely faith, raised three rough-and-rowdy boys, and escaped the abuse and violence of two questionably devised Mormon marriages before finding love and an improbable career in the US civil service.

By the time Lance came out to his mother at age 21, he was a blue-state young man studying the arts instead of going on his Mormon mission. She derided his sexuality as a sinful choice and was terrified for his future. It may seem like theirs was a house destined to be divided, and at times it was. This story shines light on what it took to remain a family despite such division - a journey that stretched from the steps of the US Supreme Court to the woodsheds of East Texas. In the end, the rifts that have split a nation couldn’t end this relationship that defined and inspired their remarkable lives.

Mama’s Boy is their story. It’s a story of the noble quest for a plane higher than politics - a story of family, foundations, turmoil, tragedy, elation, and love. It is a story needed now more than ever.

©2019 Dustin Lance Black (P)2019 Random House Audio

Critic reviews

Mama’s Boy is a beautifully written, utterly compelling account of growing up poor and gay with a thrice married, physically disabled, deeply religious Mormon mother, and the imprint this irrepressible woman made on the character of Dustin Lance Black. Their extraordinary bond left me exhilarated - it actually gave me hope for the future of the republic, which is no mean feat, given the dark mood of our current moment.” (Jon Krakauer, author of Missoula and Under the Banner of Heaven)

“A fast read with witty observations, and all the emotions to go along.... [A] testament to the powerful impact a good parent has on children.... Black and Mama’s Boy show just how far the unlikeliest of children can go with pure, unabashed grit.” (San Francisco Chronicle)

“A fascinating and poignant combination of memoir and family history.... Both personal and universal.... The most emotional moments come as Black finds himself in personal encounters with those who might be considered obviously antagonistic to his world, including leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and more conservative members of his own family.... Finding common ground is indeed the powerful throughline in Mama’s Boy.” (Salt Lake City Weekly)

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