The Days of Anna Madrigal by Armistead Maupin

I have read the whole Tales of the City canon. I have loved every minute of it. I have laughed. I have shed one or two tears. I have been frustrated with some characters and looked forward to the re-appearance of many. I was sad when some died. The characters in the pages of these books are like old friends. I have re-read many of the novels several times. I am probably due to read the whole thing now that I have the ninth and final book. I have read these books on planes, trains, buses and cars. I have read these books on vacation and at home. I have shared these books with many people. So, it was with a mix of joy and heavy heart that I picked this one up, knowing that it would be the last.

It is a fun book and finally, the real truth about Anna’s choice of last name is revealed. And no, the anagram has been a bit of a red herring all this time. The book alternates back and forth between the current time and Anna’s past in Winnemucca. I don’t want to give any details about the story because for those who have read all the novels it might spoil the enjoyment. Half the fun in these books is the discovery as you turn each page.

This book is consistently good and is on par with all of the other novels. It shows us a little more, actually a lot more, about Anna. We get to see old friends like Brian, Shawna, Michael and some of the newer characters like Jake. We get a brief glimpse of Mary Ann. My biggest disappointment was that only mention was made of DeDe and D’orothea who have made me laugh more than any other in these pages. The finale takes place at Burning Man in Nevada and is a fitting ending for Anna as she glides off into the sunset, still kicking at 92 years old.

I read the book in one sitting and when I turned that last page and shut the cover, I almost could not believe that my long term relationship with Tales of the City had reached its conclusion. There won’t be any new adventures to discover but I will continue to read the stories again and again and to gift the books to as many people as I think will enjoy and learn from what the book has to offer. It is a wonderful look into the history of gays, lesbians and transgender people and their straight friends and family. The whole series covers 40 years of growth and change in society. It was a great ride!

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