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I Was Better Last Night cover art

I Was Better Last Night

By: Harvey Fierstein
Narrated by: Harvey Fierstein
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Summary

NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER • A poignant and hilarious memoir from the cultural icon, gay rights activist, and four-time Tony Award–winning actor and playwright, revealing never-before-told stories of his personal struggles and conflict, of sex and romance, and of his fabled career

Harvey Fierstein’s legendary career has transported him from community theater in Brooklyn, to the lights of Broadway, to the absurd excesses of Hollywood and back. He’s received accolades and awards for acting in and/or writing an incredible string of hit plays, films, and TV shows: Hairspray, Fiddler on the Roof, Mrs. Doubtfire, Independence Day, Cheers, La Cage Aux Folles, Torch Song Trilogy, Newsies, and Kinky Boots. While he has never shied away from the spotlight, Mr. Fierstein says that even those closest to him have never heard most of the tales—of personal struggles and conflict, of sex and romance, of his fabled career—revealed in these wildly entertaining pages.

I Was Better Last Night bares the inner life of this eccentric nonconforming child from his roots in 1952 Brooklyn, to the experimental worlds of Andy Warhol and the Theatre of the Ridiculous, to the gay rights movements of the seventies and the tumultuous AIDS crisis of the eighties, through decades of addiction, despair, and ultimate triumph.

Mr. Fierstein’s candid recollections provide a rich window into downtown New York City life, gay culture, and the evolution of theater (of which he has been a defining figure), as well as a moving account of his family’s journey of acceptance. I Was Better Last Night is filled with wisdom gained, mistakes made, and stories that come together to describe an astonishingly colorful and meaningful life. Lucky for us all, his unique and recognizable voice is as engaging, outrageously funny, and vulnerable on the page.

©2022 Harvey Fierstein (P)2022 Random House Audio
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: LGBTQ+

Critic reviews

A New York Times Staff Critics Pick of the Year • A Best Book of the Year from Smithsonian Magazine

“A raw, funny and fabulous memoir . . . Fierstein shares his life less in conventional chapters than in colorful patches: 59 of them, stitched together with photos and a plush index. The sum of this is warm and enveloping and indeed two-sided: One is a raw, cobwebby tale of anger, hurt, indignation and pain; flip it over and you get billowing ribbons of humor, gossip and fabulous, hot-pink success . . . With a dramaturge’s expert timing, Fierstein saves the most difficult anecdote of his upbringing for near the end, like the classic 11 o’clock number in musical theater. A story about his mother’s reaction to his accidental coming-out, it’s a pin prick to the heart. Actually it makes the heart a pin cushion.” --Alexandra Jacobs, The New York Times

"I love this book. Harvey Fierstein turns a phrase into a novel and the personal into the universal. The day for this book has come." --Gloria Steinem

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Brilliant

I love this book. Such a treat to have it read by Harvey himself. I knew him from Torch Song Trilogy and had no idea he was so involved in so much else.

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Brilliant from start to finish

I have to confess that prior to listening I knew little about Harvey Fierstein apart from that he was brilliant in Mrs Doubtfire. The tale of his life is wonderful from start to finish and I know I will listen to this again.

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Loved it

A fabulously honest theatre and social history read in that spectacular voice. Loved it. Highly recommended.

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Remarkable.

Torch song trilogy helped me in so many ways. But I was thrilled to find Mr Fierstein is so much more and it’s a wonderful romp through the life of a broadway legend. I never knew! I’m fairly certain you were just as good tonight as you were last night. Enjoy it.

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5 out of 5 stars

What a brilliant audio book, Harvey is insightful & funny - a great listen!

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In front and behind the scenes of a cultural bellweathers life and times.

Harvey has been an even bigger force behind the scenes than in front of them. And he’s been at the forefront of the sort of musical theatre et al that propels the culture as well as recounts it. Plenty to chew on and digest. The genesis of shows (hits or misses) always interests me, but the cultural context of Harvey’s work makes this a compelling historical piece as well. His unique voice is full of character and this is no vanity reading. A joy to listen to.

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The truth, honesty and authenticity

Sensational. A wonderful review of a very special life. An inspiration. Delicious to listen to and exceptionally well told.

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A joy to listen to.

A real celebration of a life well lived. There's not much score settling in this lovely book, OK there's a little but, in the main Harvey's life has been too busy and accomplished to carry grudges, unlike some recent theatrical autobiographies.

It's pleasing to meet a hero and find that he's as generous, kind and loving as you'd hoped. Love this book. Love this man.

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Harvey is an icon!

What a beautiful, poignant, glorious, sad, heartfelt memoire. just wonderful. so easy to listen to.

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Unbelievably good

I wasn't sure I wanted to listen to Harvey Fierstein read for 12 and 1/2 hours but thought I'd give it a go. I am so glad I did. No one, but no one other than Harvey Fierstein could have read this book. Like a comfortable friend telling you about the fascinating, touching and challenging life experiences you didn't really know he had but only suspected. This was a truly enjoyable experience that speaks individually to the listener. Laughter, tears, anger all in the perfect places and amounts. Couldn't be better.

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