general fiction · lgbtqia content

Review: How To Be a Normal Person by T. J. Klune

The short blurb bit: Gus isn’t normal and he knows it. He runs a video store with three customers and has a pet ferret named Harry S. Truman. Casey is an asexual, stoner, hipster who might be famous (If you’re not Gus and actually know about pop culture). What could possibly go wrong if these two begin a friendship that could potentially be more?

The descriptive bit: Gus is adorable and making his way through life the best way he can and suddenly he meets Casey. For some reason, Casey thinks Gus is about the most hilarious thing he’s ever seen. Admittedly, I’m with Casey on this one. Some of the conversations between these two characters had me laughing out loud – and that’s not happened often when I’ve been reading a book. There is a discussion about marijuana and astigmatism that had me laughing so hard I had to put the book down.

Gus doesn’t get anything to do with social media, cell phones, or the many abbreviations and acronyms that have become commonplace for twenty-somethings. Casey is the most charming character I have read in a very long time. He is non-judgemental, joyous and is living life the way it probably should be lived. His interactions with Gus are the most delightful I’ve read for a while.

The supporting characters are a riot. Gus’ friends, We three Queens, ride Vespas and speak over one another. They’re irreverent and funny and clearly adore Gus. And the hipster gang of friends who arrive to visit Casey made me grin.

My thoughts bit: I suspected I would like this book because I’ve read a few of T. J. Klune’s books and I enjoy his writing style. But there’s something about this one that will give it a special place in my heart.

I love TJ’s books because his characters read like real live people. They’re funny, they make mistakes, they embarrass themselves. They have hopes and dreams that they screw up and they don’t always find what they’re looking for or even understand why they wanted it in the first place.

There is a subtle theme of loss in this book that Klune approaches delicately. Gus’ father has passed away, and while he may not be mourning openly it’s clear that Gus is still feeling the absence.

The warnings bit: Lots of marijuana use. Discusses the death of a family member. Don’t read this book while in bed with your partner. I was giggling so much that Joel got mad at me! haha

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I borrowed this book from our local library! I’m proud to work there and I’m immensely pleased about how inclusive and diverse VIRL’s collection is!! Vancouver Island Regional Library: Sooke  

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