Manboobs A Memoir of Musicals, Visas, Hope, and Cake


A Memoir of Musicals, Visas, Hope, and Cake

  • ISBN: 9781419773846
  • Publication Date: August 13, 2024


Price: $27.00

A blazing new talent’s hilarious memoir about coming of age and coming out in Pakistan, moving to America, looking for love, and falling in love with himself along the way

Manboobs is: "wickedly funny and often moving"..."hilarious and despairing"..."heartbreaking and stirring."

What do you do when you’re too gay for Pakistan, too Pakistani to be gay in America, and you’re ashamed of your body everywhere? How can you find happiness despite years of humiliation, physical danger, and a legion of Brooklyn hipsters who know you only as a queer from Whereveristan? How do you summon the courage to be yourself no matter where you are?

Even as a young child in Lahore, Komail Aijazuddin knew he was different—no one else at his all-boys prep school was pirouetting off their desks, or bullied for their “manboobs,” or spontaneously bursting into songs from The Little Mermaid. Aijazuddin began to believe his only chance at a happy, meaningful life would be found elsewhere: America, the land of the free, the home of the gays.

But the hostility of a post-9/11 world and society’s rejection of his art, his desires, and his body would soon teach him that finding happiness takes a lot more than a plane ticket. Searching for his place between two worlds while navigating a minefield of expectations, prejudice, and self-doubt, Aijazuddin discovered, sometimes painfully, sometimes hilariously, that there are people and places he’d need to let go of to move forward.

Manboobs is Aijazuddin’s riotous yet intelligent memoir of searching for love, seamlessly blending humor, politics, pop culture, and the bravery required to be yourself. Aijazuddin confidently announces himself as a sharp new voice in humor with his moving, wickedly funny reexamination of the American Dream and our search for home.

*Kirkus, Foreword Reviews, Publishers Weekly


“In this sterling debut, painter Aijazuddin combines blazing wit with heartbreaking candor as he recounts his path toward self-acceptance as a gay Pakistani . . . Aijazuddin's prose is playful but sincere . . . marrying quips with powerful insights. The result is a stirring account of coming-of-age and coming out.”

“Unabashed in its depiction of camp and queer identity, Aijazuddin’s book is a poignant reflection on identity, race, and the meaning of home. A wickedly funny and often moving memoir."


“Variously hilarious and despairing. . . The candid and sometimes uproarious memoir of a gay Pakistani, Manboobs is about the search for acceptance in two radically different, flawed countries––and within oneself.”

"Manboobs is a vastly entertaining and wickedly funny paean to a body part, and not just the titular one. Komail Aijazuddin dares us to go beneath the surface of his life as a queer man coming of age pre- and post-9/11 in Pakistan, Canada, and the United States. What he asks us to listen for are the wild syncopation and weird music of his heart. How to possibly describe this book? Aijazuddin has given us a globetrotting bildungsroman for the twenty-first century filled with danger, wit, harrowing escapes, and, yes, musicals. Manboobs proudly assumes its place on the shelf beside Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime and the works of Christopher Isherwood. Komail Aijazuddin just might be the most interesting man you’ll ever take to bed with you."
—GREG MARSHALL, author of Leg: The Story of a Limb and the Boy Who Grew from It

“A kaleidoscopic journey in search of happiness and freedom—Aijazuddin’s account is hip, engrossing, deeply moving, and remarkably funny.”
—MANIL SURI, award-winning author of The Death of Vishnu

"In Manboobs Komail Aijazuddin serves up a sharply witty and heartwarmingly candid memoir that pirouettes across Lahore, London, and New York City in a quest for home. Part coming-of-age story, part musical extravaganza, this isn't just a tale about growing up gay in Pakistan with body image woes; it's a masterclass in turning life's dissonance into exhilarating adventure. Komail's story zips and zags through cultures and continents with undeniable flair, each city setting the stage for a new act of personal discovery. On this grand tour to self enlightenment, Komail confronts his inner critics and societal norms, enigmatic parents, closeted anti-heroes, immigration agents and blue-blooded families with DNA bombshells––but it’s his voice that is the real revelation. Imagine if wit and wisdom had a baby, and that baby could write. Reading Manboobs is like being regaled by an exceedingly charming raconteur who's lived a thousand lives before dessert. Grab a chai, dive in, and find out why the truest place to come home to is, and always has been, within ourselves. Curtain up on an extraordinary tale of self-acceptance and celebration."

—CYRUS COPELAND, author of Off the Radar

Manboobs is an important story, told with a sharp wit and disarming humor. Aijazuddin has the ability to address difficult subjects with thoughtfulness and honesty, while also making you laugh out loud.”
—MOHSIN ZAIDI, author of A Dutiful Boy

"A fabulously witty book about betrayal by many promises: the American dream, Pakistani and religious nationalism, family, love. Wrenchingly personal, unflaggingly generous to the reader, yet full of penetrating social commentary, this book gives you nowhere to hide even as you split your sides laughing."
—SADIA ABBAS, author of The Empty Room

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