A mediocre execution of a really fun and sweet concept. Not mad I read it but I wish it had been better. Ugh, that cover is so cute! Look at the little grandpa in his pink shirt and bowtie and he’s bonding with his grandson over coming out as gay! UGH UGH.
So here’s the premise that made me fall in love with this and order it from the UK because it’s not published in the US: Arthur has been happily married to his best friend for a very long time. They have two children and a handful of grandchildren. Arthur has a good life. But not a great one. He has been living closeted for his whole life, and he is now 79, and he and the love of his life were forcibly separated amidst a violent homophobic incident fifty years before. Only his wife knows. But now, with her support, he’s decided he wants to come out. This decision has ramifications in his family and community, but overall the vibe is one of familial support. Mostly it causes his grandson Teddy to also want to come out as gay.
What this comes down to is that Ryan Love just really isn’t a good writer. Everything is super obvious, the dialogue, the characters, the plot. Everything is right there on the page, no subtlety behind anything, and when characters talk it often feels like the author is standing just above them maneuvering their strings. And because things are often so shallow, a lot of the character decisions seem to come out of left field. The two worst examples are Elizabeth (Teddy’s mom and Arthur’s daughter) and her gross homophobia, which is just written off as her needing “processing time” (we get a half-assed apology and her calling herself a bitch to resolve this, which was SO INFURIATING). Maybe this would have worked if she were a more realized character, maybe not. The other example is Ben, Teddy’s crush at work, who is OBVIOUSLY a self-centered scumbag from day one, and he makes Teddy look pretty dumb most of the time for putting up with it.
This could have been such a fun little book in better hands, but as is, I’m selling my copy and crying into my pillow about it instead. Ugh, nothing gets me saltier than lost potential.
[2.5 stars, rounded up]