The Man in the Gray Flannel Skirt

  • by Jon-Jon Goulian
  • Narrated by Rob Shapiro
  • 9 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The vibrant, funny, and heartwarming story of an outcast who becomes an odd man in.
If you have ever felt like a misfit in school or been paralyzed by your family’s imposing expectations, if you have ever obsessed about your appearance or panicked about choosing a career path, if you have ever wondered if every single thing to which your body is exposed, from egg yolks to X-rays, might harm you, then you may be surprised to find a kindred spirit in The Man in the Gray Flannel Skirt.
Growing up in sunny La Jolla, California, Jon-Jon Goulian was a hyperneurotic kid who felt out of place wherever he turned, and who, in his own words, was forever on the verge of “caving in beneath the pressures of modern life”. From his fear of competition to his fear of pimples, from his fear of sex to his fear of saturated fat, the range and depth of Jon-Jon’s phobias were seemingly boundless. With his two older brothers providing a sterling example he believed he could never live up to, and his stern grandfather, the political philosopher Sidney Hook, continually calling him to account for his intellectual failure, Jon-Jon, feeling pressed against the wall, wracked with despair, and dizzy with insecurity, instinctively resorted, for reasons that became clear to him only many years later, to a most ingenious scheme for keeping conventional expectations at bay: women’s clothing!
Ingenious, perhaps, but woefully ineffective, as Jon-Jon discovers, again and again, that behind his skirt, leggings, halter top, and high heels, he’s still as wildly neurotic, and as wracked with anxiety, as he’s always been.

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What the Critics Say

“[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)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

He should pay me for the therapy

Yeah, he's a story teller, but I finished the book with the same feeling that I have after lunch with an excessively disclosing, dysfunctional co-worker. I couldn't wait to get away and wanted to shake my head like an etch a sketch to clear out the visuals. I am disappointed and insulted by audible bringing this to suggested reading. Probably my worst audible experience to date. Run AWAY!!
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- Shari

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-17-2011
  • Publisher: Random House Audio