Arthur and Teddy Are Coming Out: The uplifting, feel-good read of 2023
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They’re twofold really, the first relating to Teddy and his treatment of Ben (apparently his boyfriend but you wouldn’t know it) and the second to the story’s narrative and its easy forgiveness of Elizabeth’s homophobia (YMMV on this one). Let’s start with Teddy and Ben because I have a lot to say about it and there will be spoilers (so stop now if you don’t want them). The other characters add real texture. It’s so hard to judge Ben accurately, making him fascinating, and Madeleine is a complete joy. I loved the way Shakeel’s presence bubbles along so that he helps define Teddy in the reader’s mind.
Super-cute, super-accessible, and suffused in the cheering truth that there’s no age limit to finding love and living free, Ryan Love’s Arthur and Teddy are Coming Out tells a heart-warming story of a grandfather and grandson who decide to come out. While it doesn’t shirk from presenting homophobia at its most shattering, this is, above all, a charming feel-good novel that brims with family drama and the warm-hearted glow of following your heart. In fact, through its easy-to-read, relatable style and loveable lead characters, this story wears its heart loud and proud on its sleeve. Generally, the handful of women in this are flat clichés. Elizabeth is the 'career obsessed bitch'. Teddy's other best friend Lexi is a quirky straight girl without a personality beyond going out for drinks with her two ✨gay best friends✨ and complaining about being single.. When 79-year-old Arthur Edwards gathers his family together to share that he's gay, and after a lifetime in the closet, he's finally ready to come out.
So this continues, and it’s clear to the reader at least that Ben is struggling with feeling insecure about his job (because Teddy, being a nepo baby, has obviously got the end position all sewn up) and insecure about his relationship (given how much Teddy’s best friend hates him and how Teddy’s always telling Ben to try get along with Shakeel, and never confronting Shakeel about how he’s treating Ben). You can probably tell by now who exactly I’m siding with here.
Arthur and Teddy have always been close, and now they must navigate first loves, heartbreak, and finding their place in their community.
CW: Suicide, threat of murder, homophobia, gaslighting, emotional abuse, toxic relationship, death of a parent, physical abuse, cancer, addiction, grief, abandonment of a child, abandonment of an elder. The second thing, if you’re still here reading this review, was about Elizabeth, Teddy’s mother and Arthur’s daughter. Both times someone comes out to her, she manages to make it so totally about herself it’s almost impressive. She accuses Arthur of ruining their lives, and cuts him off almost completely. She outs him to the entire town shouting about it in the convenience store! And Arthur, much more nice than I would be about it, is willing just to wait for her to come around and forgive him! Like, sorry, but Elizabeth should be on her knees begging for Arthur’s forgiveness.