Book Review: Conversations and Cosmopolitans: Awkward Moments, Mixed Drinks, and How a Mother and So

Gay son Robert and straight mom Jane share a funny, honest double memoir

Conversations and Cosmopolitans is an endearing memoir written by mother-son pair Robert Rave and Jane Rave. This delightful and laugh-out-loud funny tale concerns a mother’s openness and acceptance of her gay son, and her son’s blunders and successes through his 20s in New York City.

When Robert decides to come out of the closet, he realizes that the first people he wants to tell are his parents. He writes them a sincere letter and attempts to explain as much as he can, while anticipating the questions they might have. Then he sends his heart out via snail mail to the Midwest. To no surprise, this involves a nerve-racking wait on Robert’s end as his mind is filled with worst-case scenarios. Luckily for us, we are spared the suspense and anxiety, since we receive Jane’s point of view in the following chapter. He could never have been more wrong about his parents, however; this disparity in expectation and reality is a rewarding experience that continues throughout the book.

As mother and son alternate vignettes about the same event or topic, we are witness to their conversation and varying perspectives. From “manscaping” to Weight Watchers recipes to a lexicon of gay lingo, there’s almost nothing these two do not share. Their obstacles, when they face them, bring them closer to each other and to their own identities.

This narrative is a refreshing look at what it means to love unconditionally, as well as how you can embrace what you may not fully understand. It’s safe to say that Robert’s and Jane’s is an experience most would like to share first-hand.

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