DATE: 2 April 2020
REVIEW: MAMA’S BOY by Dustin Lance Black
VERSION: Audiobook on Audible
MY RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars
MAMA’S BOY is a heartfelt, emotional, and inspirational read.
Mama’s Boy by Dustin Lance Black is a memoir that spans three generations of the author’s family: from his grandmother Cokie to his mother Roseanna, then to Black and his brothers. It details some of the great difficulties they lived through and overcame, as well as some heartbreaking losses.
To be honest, I rarely read memoirs, but what I’d heard about this one intrigued me. I started with the audiobook since the paperback and hardcover versions weren’t yet available, and I’m very glad I did. The audiobook was narrated by the author himself which, in my opinion, was perfect for this book. His emotion was apparent as he read his family’s personal story and took the listener with him on their journey through some of the highs and lows of their lives.
Each generation of Black’s family had met with major obstacles and difficulties, from divorce, to childhood illness and disability, to poverty, to recognizing and fearing one’s own differences. Each difficulty they faced was met with strength, determination and indomitable spirit. When there were challenges they were unable to overcome, there was family—always there for each other and keeping each other strong.
In the end there was a little boy too timid to speak—who hid behind couches when there were visitors—who, bolstered by his mother’s strength and life lessons, grew up to find his voice and become a champion for one of this generation’s most important causes: equality.
Admittedly, I am an emotional reader (and movie watcher). I feel everything and laugh and cry my way through those books and films that pull me in. Yet, rarely, if ever, have I been as affected by a story as I was by Mama’s Boy. By the time I had finished listening to the audiobook, something inside me had shifted. I think it would be impossible not to feel changed in some way in the face of such struggles, strength, and acts of true human heroism.
Mama’s Boy is a truly inspirational story that left me with the desire to go out and make a difference in the world in deeper and more meaningful ways than I have thus far, just as the author’s mother, and the author himself, have done.
Even though I’ve already listened to the audiobook version, I purchased the hardcover as soon as it was available. It now has a spot in my small library, which I reserve for those books I know I will read and re-read. I have already started to read this written version.