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Summary

'To outsiders, my mom and I should have been enemies. Our house should have been divided -North vs South, red vs blue, conservative vs progressive, or however you want to put it. Instead, my mom and I fuelled each other. Her oil lit my lamp, and eventually mine lit hers. The tools I'd learned to wield growing up in her conservative, Christian, southern, military home were the same I'd used to wage battles that had taken me from a broken-down welfare apartment where gunfire sang me to sleep, to the biggest stages in the world, and to the front row of the United States Supreme Court to fight for LGBTQ equality.'  

Dustin Lance Black wrote the Oscar-winning screenplay for Milk and helped overturn California's anti-gay marriage Proposition 8, but he grew up in 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 sons, and escaped the abuse and violence of two questionably devised Mormon marriages before finding love and an improbable career in the US civil service.  

When Lance came out to his mother at 21, he was already studying the arts instead of going on his Mormon mission. She derided his sexuality as a sinful choice and was terrified for his future. Mama's Boy explores 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 - one of family, foundations, turmoil, tragedy, elation, and love. It is a story needed now more than ever.    

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

Critic reviews

"A magnificent achievement...I cannot remember a book where I cried so often. Brave, insightful, unflinching, funny, sad, triumphant...everything. And both a warning and a hope for the times to come." (Stephen Fry) 

"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." (Jon Krakauer, author of Into Thin Air)

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Captivating. Flawless. Inspiring.

After watching an IG live with DLB, Ryan and Todd, I knew I had to get this book. I struggle to stay focused when reading books, so looked into the audio version. When I saw DLB had narrated it, I didn't hesitste in getting it. From the prologue to the acknowledgements, I was engrossed. I have literally laughed, cried and smiled my way through DLB's emotional narration. To hear it read as he intended when writing, gave so much more depth to the book, not that depth would be in any way lacking but the way he was able to bring people off the page with his vocalisations of accents and intonation, is something nobody reading could ever do themselves. Given he is a screenwriter, it isn't surprising how extraordinarily well stories are told and his and his Mother's family, friends, struggles and triumphs painted so clearly it is as if I've met the people and lived through it myself. Truly thought provoking and eye opening from beginning to end.

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Brilliant

Best book I’ve heard in ages- don’t miss it. A life changer. Thank you Lance xxx

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Narration by Dustin Lance Black

This book could not be narrated by anyone other than Dustin Lance Black. His humanity and deep feeling felt honest and real and were deeply moving. Five stars for performance is not enough. Even though I only know his films I am sure I learned more about him than I could reading the printed book itself. I am so glad I chose the audiobook.

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An inspirational story told with heart

This book helped me through self isolating with Covid 19. It made be laugh, cry, feel angry, feel joy and every emotion in between.

Everyone should read this book, irrespective of your politics or beliefs, it will open your eyes to what humans are capable of achieving if we come together and remember our shared humanity.

An inspirational story of an amazing woman from the southern USA and her blue eyed boy who don’t know how to take no for an answer.

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A beautiful, intimate, joyful and heartbreaking yarn!

I laughed, I cried, I felt proud and compelled to action. Thank you Lance for your honesty, vulnerability, determination and pride! I feel that now we’re all Mama’s boys! Xxx

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Incredible!!

This book is a must read for everyone. it had me laughing, crying my eyes out and was filled with so much pride.

Masterfully written and flawlessly performed.

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Wonderful

A riveting story and beautiful tribute. Totally inspiring. I enjoyed every second of it. Thank you!

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A power of storytelling

Tears, laughter and a warming feeling of unconditional love. This is how I would retell this book in the shortest way possible. To put it more wordy, Mama's boy is a passionate and courageous book about a small woman with polio who has managed to become one of the greatest human beings, whose dream of motherhood has ignited fires in different souls, including a small Texan boy with a magic skill of storytelling. Done and dusted, Lance, thank you very much!

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Absolutely wonderful

Tremendously enjoyable book about 2 amazing lives. Inspirational story about the power of storytelling too. I have learned so much that I will be putting into practice including celebrating difference, storytelling to fight for hopes and dreams and achieving the "impossible". Thanks so much.

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Inspiring, uplifting.

Possibly the best book I’ve read this year. I cried, I giggled, I cried again, but ultimately I was uplifted and inspired by the telling of this very personal story. I’m certain I’ll be reading this regularly since I couldn’t put it down the first time.

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  • Elizabeth Lewis
  • 29-07-19

Smiles and tears, Truth and self belief.

I started by reading this book as it was a gift and loved it, But I travel and love listening to Audio books, I wanted to hear how his voice changed as the topics became funny or sad and it is beautifully done, It touches your heart that pain of many kinds, can build such strong foundations that drive a person onward to fight for the rights of so many. Inspiring and touching.

You may not always see the whole road ahead, but if your brave enough, you can bring great change, by taking a single step in the right direction and believe in your heart it is the right thing to do.

I wish Lance,Tom and Robbie Ray the very best in this life. Thank you for sharing so much.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-10-21

Excellent story

This is one of my favourite books ever, and the fact that it was narrated by Lance made it all the more meaningful. An extremely and beautiful story about two very different people.

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  • Karen
  • 06-10-21

Well worth the listen!

Totally absorbing, a book of sheer determination, encouragement and motivation proving all is possible.
Full of emotion that packed a punch and pulled on heart strings, there were so many times I felt like I wanted to reach into the book and give the characters a hug.

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  • The Admiral
  • 13-10-20

Have tissues at the ready

From start to finish this is an emotional roller coaster. Hearing Dustin Lance Black's voice quiver as he narrates his story bring tears to your eyes. The love that he has for his family shines through his story. One of the best autobiographies I have 'read' in a long time. Do yourself a favour and get Mama's Boy.