By Emily Drabinski
'Doesn't that just sound like the most arrogant, presumptuous thing in the world?' laughs Robert Leleux in a broad East Texas drawl when I suggest that 28 might be a little young to write a memoir about his mother. Yet he pulls off the improbable in The Memoirs of a Beautiful Boy (St. Martin's, $23.95), a hilarious and generous reflection on the struggle for family and home for a young gay man growing up in a small town called Petunia.
'Mother' is the clear star of this show, an old-fashioned mantrap who responds to the poverty of divorce with plastic surgery and ill-advised baldness treatments involving glue, pom-poms, and projectile vomiting. A self-proclaimed 'Texan in exile,' Leleux makes his home in New York City with husband Michael, a dancer who gave Robert his last name and whose lightning-quick courtship is warmly told in Memoirs.
Leleux is readying for a book tour that will take him from Philadelphia to Portland, Ore., as is Mother, though she is currently helping her husband recover from drunkenly driving off a cliff on a motorcycle at their vacation home in Utah. 'Fodder for the next book,' Leleux says. 'She's already gone shopping for her tweed Christian Lacroix reading suit. This is her stage.'