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Book Review: The Days of Anna Madrigal by Armistead Maupin


Even though I've never had a desire to visit San Francisco, I feel as though I'm an honorary resident of the city thanks to this series. It's been a wild ride.

Mrs. Madrigal and the other residents of 28 Barbary Lane no longer live there (they eventually moved at various times throughout the series) and they've all gone onto their own paths in life, yet she's still the glue that holds "the logical" family together.

As this installment begins, Shawna Hawkins wants to have a baby. She doesn't want to be married and is planning on artificially inseminating herself at the upcoming Burning Man Festival, but she still doesn't have a clue as to who she wants to be the father. When she runs into her ex-boyfriend Otto she adds him to the potential list since he'll be at the festival and is moving to Canada after the festival.

Also going to the festival are Michael Tolliver and his husband, Ben (Shawna has been debating whether or not to ask Ben to be the father of her baby) and Michael's business partner Jake Greenleaf and his new boyfriend, Amos. Jake and Amos have been working on a float for Anna to ride at the festival so that other trans people can meet the pioneer.

Before the festival, Brian Hawkins comes back to town following his time travelling across the country in his RV and when he comes back, he has a surprise- he's married to former model Wren Douglas (from Significant Others) after reconnecting on Facebook. He plans on introducing her to Anna.

As the countdown begins for the festival, Anna starts to remember her past and wants to go back to Winnemucca to revisit her past. Brian and Wren take her in the RV as the others go to the festival.

There really isn't too much happening in this installment, but when Anna drifts off to the days when she was Andy that's when the story is really good. We get to meet Margaret (who used to read him Winnie the Pooh books in between "clients") who treats him tenderly and we also get to know Mother Mucca a little more. She may have been brusque in More Tales of the City, but her character is really developed in this story.

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I wasn't too happy with the ending and about halfway through I had changed my mind of how the series would end. It sort of does but it's definitely open ended and another volume could possibly be written, but I think you have to go with what you think might have happened to the characters.

What I've loved about this series is that Maupin was consistent with the characters' pasts and if you are looking for a quirky series to read about life and love then this is a really good series to invest in.

It's also a good idea to read the series in order, including the two standalones.

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