How to Be a Normal Person by T.J. Klune

My goal of only reading books either featuring LGBTQ+ characters or from LGBTQ+ authors for Pride month has covered a decent variety – so far I’ve read books with lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, queer, trans, and non-binary characters so for this next read I thought it would be nice to find one featuring an asexual character. After a little Googling, I came across this book. The blurb sounded good and I was familiar with the author after having read (and loved) Under the Whispering Door last year so I figured I’d give it a shot. I’m so glad I did because this book was flipping hilarious, I can’t remember the last time I literally laughed out loud so often while reading a book. Pretty much every page had me chuckling while still providing a really heartwarming love story. I think I have to say that this book was my favorite of the ones I’ve read this month, and I have a feeling it’s going to hold a top spot in my favorite reads of the year. I loved everything about it.

So what’s it about? Well, it follows 29-year-old Gustavo Tiberius, who is a bit of a loner, enjoys his routines, reads the encyclopedia every night before bed, has a pet ferret named Harry S. Truman, and owns a video rental store that no one goes to. By all accounts, he is anything but normal, but that’s just fine with him. His life is turned upside down, however, when stoner asexual hipster Casey Richards moves to town and decides that Gus is the greatest thing ever and that they will be friends. Gus decides that Casey deserves someone normal so he sets out on a quest to figure out how to be a normal person and hilarity ensues. After all this, will Gus find out that being “normal” is overrated and that being “weird and strange” is still good enough to get the guy?

Oh Gus, sweet Gus. I loved him so much. He may have been thorny on the outside but inside he was such a softy and it was so sweet seeing the people he chose to let through the prickly exterior. From Lottie with her drag queen hair to the We Three Queens, the geriatric biker (Vespa) trio who were either sisters or polyamorous lesbians (it’s still up for debate), and then Casey the bearded, stoner, asexual hipster who spent too much time Instagramming his food – Gus had more people who truly cared about him than he’d be comfortable admitting. They all loved him, quirks and all, but Gus couldn’t see that and felt the need to try to be more normal. How does one start to figure out how to be a normal person? Turn to the internet, of course! Because we all know the internet has never steered anyone wrong before. Gus’s journey to even get the internet was freaking hilarious and then all the “advice” he found cracked me up. It was so awkward and cringy at times but seeing Gus’s reactions to his own words/actions were so funny. And Casey was just the best! He never judged and always went with the flow, he truly liked Gus and I loved how he basically bulldozed his way into Gus’s life.

As the blurb states, Casey identified as asexual and I thought this book did an excellent job of explaining what that meant and having the characters deal with what that means in the context of a potential relationship. Even though this book is absent of sexy times, there’s still plenty of sweetness to get your heart fluttering – Casey did give pretty amazing hugs, after all! These boys were so cute together and I loved all their meddling friends helping them along the way. The story overall was very low angst, with just a bit of a conflict toward the end, it really was just a heartwarming and hilarious journey of trying to become “normal” but realizing that the way you are is already more than enough – especially in the eyes of those who love you. I’m so glad I came across this story and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a book that’ll leave a smile on your face long after you’ve finished reading it!

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