The long-awaited memoir by “one of the few original American writers of the last century” is a testament to the power of self-acceptance (Gore Vidal).
John Rechy, author of City of Night and The Sexual Outlaw, has always known discrimination. Raised Mexican-American in El Paso, Texas, at a time when Latino children were routinely segregated, Rechy was often assumed to be Anglo because of his light skin, and had his name “changed” for him by a teacher, from Juan to John. As he grew older—and as his fascination with the memory of a notorious kept woman in his childhood deepened—Rechy became aware that his differences lay not just in his heritage, but in his sexuality. While he performed the roles expected of him by others—the authoritarians in the US Army during the Korean War, the bigoted relatives of his Anglo college classmates, or the men and women who wanted him to be something he was not—he never allowed them to define him.
The “riveting” story of a life that bears witness to some of the most riotous changes of the past century, About My Life and the Kept Woman is as much a portrait of intolerance as of an individual who defied it to forge his own path (The Advocate).
“Rechy might be called the first bard of West Hollywood.” —The New York Times
“A skillfully paced story . . . As a memoirist, Rechy is both participant and observer, and he segues as easily between narrative and exegesis as his younger self did between the lure of the wild streets and the embrace of his traditional family.” —Los Angeles Magazine