The Man in the Gray Flannel Skirt

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May 17, 2011 | 570 Minutes

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Praise

“Is there anybody more likable than Jon-Jon Goulian? Toned, tanned, bedaubed with fantastic eye makeup—the first and only cross-dresser ever to have worked at The New York Review of Books—Mr. Goulian has made friendliness his life’s work, tricking successive generations of newcomers into thinking that the New York literary world is populated with attractive and unusual people….A Gen-X update on an archetype we associate most readily with Woody Allen, [he] offers himself as ‘a neurasthenic man’ in a ‘city of horrors,’ terrified of moths, sex, saturated fat, the draft, Central Park, taxi cabs and high-school reunions. If Woody Allen were a cross-dresser from La Jolla, is this who he’d be?”
–New York Observer


“For anyone who’s ever felt like no one in a world that demands we all be someone, here it is: the psychedelically neurotic account, painfully brave and punishingly funny, of one human being’s long struggle to make his outsides match his unclassifiable insides.”
Walter Kirn, author of Lost in the Meritocracy

“Never have I read a fish-out-of-water story that had me so instantly and irrevocably enamored with the fish.”
—Sloane Crosley
, author of How Did You Get This Number

“[Goulian’s] life is one many would consider a success….yet this book isn’t just about his triumphs. It’s also about his struggles to come of age in a world in which he doesn’t fit….It is his voice, with its wryly humorous, slightly self-deprecating tone, that engages the reader.”
–Booklist
 
“A sassy, outspoken narrative [that] gets kudos for its droll frankness.”
Kirkus
 
“This is a book that will fill you with laughter, pity, identification, and admiration; it might also show you how to be a man. If Jon-Jon Goulian did not exist, it would have been necessary to invent him.”
—Benjamin Kunkel, author of Indecision
 
Jon-Jon Goulian manages to pull off the hardest thing to do when writing about yourself, which is being totally candid yet also compassionate.  It’s hard to imagine anyone not loving this book, but everyone who’s ever felt like a freak will find it especially cheering, affirming, heartrending, and hilarious.”
—Emily Gould
, author of And the Heart Says Whatever
 
“Jon-Jon Goulian’s journey from strange young man to stranger older man is tender, sweet, and very readable. One wishes him and his koala bear hand puppet, Mr. Marvel, a life of love and happiness.”
Gary Shteyngart, author of Super Sad True Love Story
 
“I read this book in a single, thrilling sitting. It’s beautifully written, extremely moving, and, most important, funny as hell!”
Simon Rich, author of Elliot Allagash

“You can’t read this book without falling a little bit in love with Jon-Jon Goulian.
 Suddenly, at the age of 40, after not having published a word his whole life, he gives us one of the funniest, saddest, and most exquisitely crafted books about a dysfunctional neurotic ever written.”
—Katie Roiphe,
author of Uncommon Arrangements

“Jon-Jon Goulian is beautifully, unabashedly himself as The Man in the Gray Flannel Skirt.”
—Vanity Fair
 
“A hilariously neurotic trip down the rabbit hole
that is both a baffling series of oddities and an endearing, relatable sashay to self-acceptance – sometimes on the same page. Walking a mile in the first-time author’s leather pumps will make anyone feel normal – not because he’s so bizarre, but because, underneath all the protective armor – the eyeliner, the chandelier earrings, the ever-climbing neck tattoos – he’s just like us.”
—Modern Tonic
 
“Goulian writes poignantly
about reconciling a law degree with a penchant for wearing women’s clothing.”
—Entertainment Weekly

“Some people have to dare to be original, but Jon-Jon Goulian would have to try hard to be normal. As the lawyer he is might say: he is sui generis. Read this book, and live a little.”
Elizabeth Wurtzel, author of Prozac Nation




From the Hardcover edition.

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