LGBTQ advice columnist John Paul Brammer writes a “wise and charming” (David Sedaris) memoir-in-essays chronicling his journey from a queer, mixed-race kid in America’s heartland to becoming the “Chicano Carrie Bradshaw” of his generation.
“A master class of tone and tenderness.” —The New York Times Book Review (Editors’ Choice)
“Should be required reading.” —Los Angeles Times
The first time someone called John Paul (JP) Brammer “Papi” was on the gay hookup app Grindr. At first, it was flattering; JP took this as white-guy speak for “hey, handsome.” But then it happened again and again…and again, leaving JP wondering: Who the hell is Papi?
Soon, this racialized moniker became the inspiration for his now wildly popular advice column “¡Hola Papi!,” launching his career as the Cheryl Strayed for young queer people everywhere—and some straight people too. JP had his doubts at first—what advice could he really offer while he himself stumbled through his early twenties? Sometimes the best advice comes from looking within, which is what JP does in his column and book—and readers have flocked to him for honest, heartfelt wisdom, and more than a few laughs.
In this hilarious, tenderhearted book, JP shares his story of growing up biracial and in the closet in America’s heartland, while attempting to answer some of life’s most challenging questions: How do I let go of the past? How do I become the person I want to be? Is there such a thing as being too gay? Should I hook up with my grade school bully now that he’s out of the closet? Questions we’ve all asked ourselves, surely.
¡Hola Papi! is “a warm, witty compendium of hard-won life lessons,” (Harper’s Bazaar) for anyone—gay, straight, and everything in between—who has ever taken stock of their unique place in the world.
LGBTQ advice columnist Brammer debuts with a frothy, episodic memoir written in the format of answers to such questions as "How do I make peace with the years I lost in the closet?" Brammer recounts his rural Oklahoma childhood, being bullied in middle school, and early sexual experiences, including a confusing relationship with a closeted Christian. He also discusses trying to reclaim his Mexican American heritage in high school by working at a Mexican restaurant and how coming out on Facebook "helped me work up the courage to admit it to myself." After encountering Grindr for the first time as a college junior "desperate for the knowledge... how to date and hook up and live as a gay person," Brammer eventually launched his advice column on the dating app in 2017. Though he has a genuine interest in helping others and frankly details a suicide attempt and other intimate matters, Brammer's writing regularly slips into clichés (his New York apartment is a "shoebox"; his abuela is "a very short, very brown woman" who watches telenovelas). Fans will appreciate a closer look at Brammer's life; others will wish for greater depth.
I came across this book and read a few pages and I was hooked. So I bought the book and it was one of those books that I didn’t want to end. I loved the way he told his story. It is a book that I know I will enjoy rereading again and again.
A Gem of Storytelling
This book is a collection of stories, answering questions about life through the lived experience of the author who I discovered through twitter. I never write reviews for things but felt compelled to for how much I loved this book. The author is a very good writer and captures you in his storytelling. It ebbs and flows between humor and heaviness, which is where truth exists. Several reflections on life and society that I sat with for some time.
Haven’t been able to put it down
Beautifully written, have stayed up late reading it multiple nights since buying it