The House of Impossible Beauties by Joseph Cassara

During my senior year of college, my English capstone class watched Paris Is Burning and I was completely absorbed into the world of the Harlem ball scene.  So imagine how excited I was to discover this book which follows the lives of the Xtravaganza family, a real family that was featured in the documentary.  Cassara has written a beautiful book about these people that rounds them out, giving them much more dimension than the documentary (even if that dimension is fictional).  I already knew what was going to happen but it didn’t stop my heart from breaking over and over again.  Cassara has written this book using very realistic language, constantly flipping between English, Spanish, and ball slang, which gave the book even more a feeling of authenticity.  If you have any interest in the drag world, you have to read this book.

4-stars

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