I love a book that does exactly what it says on the tin. In Arthur And Teddy Are Coming Out, Arthur and Teddy… well, come out. Ryan Love’s debut novel promises a unique coming-out story with a healthy splash of queer joy, so I was delighted when Harlequin Australia and Harper Collins Australia sent me a copy for review.
79-year-old Arthur Edwards is finally ready to start living his real life. Luckily, his wife Madeline is very happy for him, and supports him as he comes out to his family – even when his grown children don’t react the way he’d hoped.
There was no guidebook for this, no one to advise a seventy-nine-year-old on how to suddenly live the life he had only ever imagined in his head.Arthur And Teddy Are Coming Out (Page 121)
21-year-old Teddy, Arthur’s grandson, is also gay – but he’s not ready to take the brave step that Arthur has, especially after seeing his mother’s reaction to the news of a Homosexual In The Family. If only his sexy new colleague, Ben, wasn’t putting pressure on him to come out so that they can be together…
It’s a lovely premise, but I didn’t love Arthur And Teddy Are Coming Out as much as I’d hoped. It just wasn’t as delightful or funny as the colourful cover promised – where was the whimsy? If it was there, it was buried deep under a lot of exposition and basic prose.
Arthur and Madeline’s relationship was beautiful, and I found myself wishing that all of Arthur And Teddy Are Coming Out was about them. I didn’t so much care for Teddy and Ben, and oblivious Teddy’s friend who has the hots for him. Maybe I’m just getting too old and cynical for indulgent angst about young love and “what people will think”.
I must offer a trigger warning for homophobia (obviously) and suicide – plus a cheesy, over-the-top ending that you’ll see coming a mile off.
I’ve got high hopes that we’ll see more stories like Arthur’s in future – late-in-life coming out is an underexplored area in queer literature, IMHO. Until then, I suppose at least younger readers will (probably) enjoy the Teddys and Bens of the fictional world.