Review: Femme by Marshall Thornton

Queeny cocktail waiter, Lionel, wakes up to find himself in bed with Dog, a straight-acting softball player and the two embark on a rocky road to romance. A journey that requires coming out of the closet, going into the closet, a pair of red high heels, many pairs of red high heels, a failed intervention, a couple of aborted dates, and homemade pom-poms. Mostly, Lionel and Dog learn what it means to be a man.

"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken." - Oscar Wilde

So much fun!

This author is new to me but I'd heard great things about this story and all those things turned out to be true. Lionel is a vivacious character who is funny and sarcastic-two traits I admire. I'm not sure what I expected from this book, but I can tell you some of the one-liners here were so unexpected that I did that bark/shout/cackle thing. That's always a win for me. I appreciate authors who can inject valid social messages into their comedy and Marshall Thornton does.

Dog (yes, Dog) and Lionel are opposites. Very opposite. Dog is a dude. He has a truck, is a cub, likes softball and beer and wears t-shirts and jeans. Which means he can, and sometimes does, pass for straight. He's also introverted to Lionel's flamboyant extrovertedness. Lionel is femme. He likes heels, pink, gin martinis, is animated, can genderfuck like a champ and passing for straight is never something that's appealed to him.

But they like each other A-N-Y-W-A-Y! 

Bridging that divide is what makes Femme such an engaging and heartwarming tale. You hardly realize there's important subtext which is the hallmark of a talented comedian, in my opinion. We all have to come to some level of acceptance with who we are and how we interact with the world, but sometimes that's easier said than done, particularly when you stir in sexuality and gender dymanics. Nevertheless these characters find acceptance in each other, often in comedic ways, that still manage to be affecting. The secondary characters especially Dog's family and Carlotta! added to the hilarity.

Oh my gawd! I heart Carlotta and Frida her broke down Fiesta so muuuuucccchhhh. She needs her own book! ...and maybe a sugar daddy...

The relationship between Dog and Lionel, at times, seemed like it'd never get off the ground due to one obstacle or another. I wouldn't characterize it as miscommunication per se, but there are an inordinate amount of obstacles in their way. However, through it all these two keep finding themselves coming back together despite obstinate fathers, whackadoodle conversion therapists and boorish asshats.

"It doesn't matter if he gets over it. What matters is that you do. You need to forgive yourself." 
"For what? For being gay?" 
"For not being who your dad wants you to be."
All of these characters are well developed, unique and likeable. We get both Lionel and Dog's perspectives and the differences between them are subtly highlighted as are their similarities. The dialogue between them was organic, often scathingly witty and relateable. I never once thought "real people" wouldn't talk like that.

Femme is a slice of life tale about an unlikely pair that have to face and overcome stereotypes for both themselves as individuals and as a couple. That's funny! I mentioned that, right?

There is very little sex content but there is a big guy bottom! WOOOOOOOOOOTTTTTT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! #winning That alone was worth the wait for me.

Lastly, I'm not one for nitpicking on grammar etc., but this really could've used a final proof or edit. I found myself rereading sentences to piece together what was meant due to missing words and there were several other little things that could've been caught in a final run through that were varying degrees of distracting.

Recommended for people who enjoy a lighthearted and comedic romance with flamboyant characters.

A review copy was provided for an honest opinion.

Find out more on Goodreads.

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