Monday, October 19, 2015

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

How To Be A Normal PersonBlurb:
Gustavo Tiberius is not normal. He knows this. Everyone in his small town of Abby, Oregon, knows this. He reads encyclopedias every night before bed. He has a pet ferret called Harry S. Truman. He owns a video rental store that no one goes to. His closest friends are a lady named Lottie with drag queen hair and a trio of elderly Vespa riders known as the We Three Queens.

Gus is not normal. And he's fine with that. All he wants is to be left alone.

Until Casey, an asexual stoner hipster and the newest employee at Lottie’s Lattes, enters his life. For some reason, Casey thinks Gus is the greatest thing ever. And maybe Gus is starting to think the same thing about Casey, even if Casey is obsessive about Instagramming his food.

But Gus isn’t normal and Casey deserves someone who can be. Suddenly wanting to be that someone, Gus steps out of his comfort zone and plans to become the most normal person ever.

After all, what could possibly go wrong?
Todd's rating:

Okay, I'm at a loss. How am I supposed to review TJ Klune's latest book, "How To Be a Normal Person"?

Yes, it was insanely good, but it was also a lot like it's main character, Gustavo Tiberius. That is to say, "weird and abnormal and strange," compared to my usual reads.

When I heard his next book was an asexual, stoner hipster comedy, my first and only real thought was, "Uhhh..." <-- Yes, eloquent, I know.

Then TJ gifted me with a galley copy of the book pre-release and I (lost my motherfucking mind for a bit, then) thanked him for trusting me with his latest baby.

My last TJ read, "The Lightning Struck Heart," was a full-on comedy of epic proportions. TLSH was incredibly over-the-top, in the best way possible, with in-your-face fun coming so fast, at times it was hard to breathe through all of the snort-inducing laughter.

But "How To Be a Normal Person?" It's a sneaky bastard of a book humor-wise. This one is definitely different than anything else that I've read before from TJ, which I also really enjoyed.

TJ can write the shit out of funny dialogue, without a doubt, but I continue to be amazed by the subtle differences in his comedic style.

The first few chapters were all about 29 y.o. Gus flexing his snark and distaste for the world, because his loving father passed away fairly recently and he hasn't yet regained his equilibrium.

However, when 23 y.o. Casey, an asexual, stoner hipster, arrives in Gus' small hometown of Abby, Oregon, any equilibrium that Gus felt he had was immediately and unequivocally shot. He was completely unnerved. Done.

But as much as Gus loathes Californians, and hipsters, and quite literally *everything*, -- especially Michael Bay -- Casey is an unstoppable force in Gus' very regimented existence.

And. It. Was. AWESOME.

The humor was low-key and well-timed, coming at you from several directions. Only more subtly this time around.

The 'We Three Queens,' a geriatric biker (Vespa) gang of possibly-sisters, possibly-polyamorous lesbians, who have been Gus' constant, since his father passed away. Well, let's just say that they were a funny trio of tough old broads, especially when Gus was taking himself too seriously -- which was pretty much always.

Then we have the 'Three Ironic Amigos,' Casey's friends from LA, one of whom he used to date, who are fucking crazy. And funny as hell. I actually liked them a bit more than the We Three Queens, if I'm being honest.

Oh, and I can't forget the tech support calls that the extremely-quirky Gus made to his Internet Service Provider. Fuck me. That was some pure comedy gold there, folks. “Mitzi, Mitzi, Mitzi.”

And once Gus actually has Internet access? Sweet Jesus, his trips to online self-help advice forums on everything from "How to be a Normal Person" to "How to Hide an Erection"?

God, I really couldn't stop laughing, as Gus tries, sometimes desperately, to be normal, initially so that Casey will like him, then later, much to Gus' amazement, also for himself.

And the 'feels?' Yep, we had plenty of those, too. Mostly between Gus and Casey, but also through several flashback scenes between Gus and his deceased father, which were very touching.

In the end, Gus finally realizes that it's okay, even good, to be a bit weird and abnormal and strange and the boys do get their happily ever after.

Do I generally prefer my reads to be a bit sexier? Sure, most people that I interact with on Goodreads do.

But did I miss the sexiness this time out? Absolutely not. Because Gus gave the best hugs. ;- )
Can I hug you first?” Gus choked out, unsure why he suddenly had a lump in his throat. Casey’s smile widened.

Yeah, man. I’d really like that. You’re starting to give me some of the best hugs of my life. I’ll never say no to a hug from you.
"How To Be a Normal Person" was both refreshing and different, with tons and tons of subtle humor, so I really can't recommend it enough.

4.5 *resting-bitch-face* stars this time a/round. : )


Side Note:  If you aren't intimately familiar with the "Gustavo Tiberius" freak out that Bear has back in TJ's "The Art of Breathing," oh my God, you *must* dig that book up and re-read that passage.

I just did and was snorting like a coke whore in a hospital dispensary. Too fucking funny. We *really* need more new Bear losing his shit stories.


My galley copy of this book was provided by the author, as a gift, with no expectations of me to either read or review, but both of which were a true pleasure on my part.   : )

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