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  • Honest and Witty!

    Danny Scudd’s life is not going according to his plan in First Time for Everything by Henry Fry. Brutally honest and endearing, I found myself cheering Danny on as he traversed life as a gay man in London. Danny is a character that reminds us we may say and do the wrong thing but it’s owning up to those mistakes that separate us from the pack. And Danny’s journey to accept himself is inspiring and satisfying! This book has one of the most memorable and hilarious openings I’ve read. We meet Danny as a patient in a health clinic as he’s being tested for sexually transmitted diseases. Danny believes he’s in a loving, committed relationship, so how would he have an STD? And while hearing Danny’s internal (and external) thoughts—specifically in this scene but throughout the novel—is laugh-out-loud funny, it’s also a harsh reminder of how the LGBT+ community is often not accepted or forced to conform to the heteronormative world. From this low point in Danny’s life, things get progressively worse as (he thinks he) breaks up with his boyfriend, is forced out of his flat, moves into a commune with his flamboyant best friend Jacob, and struggles at work. Finally seeking therapy, the reader accompanies Danny as he reluctantly faces things from his past, explores his new dating life, and learns to love himself and his friends. At the heart of this story is Danny and Jacob’s friendship. Both of these flawed characters have struggled in very different ways and I so wanted to reach into the book and give them both hugs. I not only laughed, I cried, longing for them both to find their way to peace with each other and themselves. First Time for Everything examines gender identity and mental health, spotlighting some very serious issues but with a witty and honest tone. It feels especially important to read books and listen to people from the LGBT+ community. To empathize, educate, and learn how to better support our fellow human beings. No one should be made to feel uncomfortable for living their truth.

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