I confess that I am a recent addition to the Klunatic family and I have spent the past few months devouring his works (6 books in the past 2 months). I started with Lightning Struck Heart which has permanently changed my vocabulary – and may have permanent ramifications to my marriage. I have also discovered the joy (horror) of getting strange looks in public as I oscillate between hysterical laughter and the “Wookie Cry Face” that Klune is famous for instigating in his readers. Why do I continue? I’m pretty sure Mr. Klune has stumbled upon some sort of m/m romantic literary crack and once you pop, you can’t stop. The odd blend of endearing insanity that his characters embody and the fact that they find true, lasting love is a train-wreck you just can’t turn away from! What can I say? I’m hooked and I am afraid…
I don’t know where T.J. Klune finds inspiration for all the unforgettable characters he writes about, either he knows some very interesting people or he is just not right in the head. How odd then that he would write a book called “How to be a Normal Person.” Which brings us to Gustavo Tiberius (Gus), our ‘wanting to be normal’ protagonist. I have to admit, I pretended to be a little offended when I recognized a lot of myself in Gus since he is essentially labeled as abnormal. That was until I took stock of the rest of the characters in this story: a biker gang of sister-lesbians in pink leather jackets, an alliteration crazy coffee café curator, an asexual hipster writing young-adult fiction, and the memory of a sage and loving pothead father. Let me assure you, I began to feel right as rain and quickly saw Gus for the perfect man he is. Okay, so not perfect. He’s a bit of a recluse with a pet ferret named Harry S. Truman, but he’s unapologetic about who he is. Gus is not too concerned about his lack of appropriate social skills, until he meets a handsome hipster transplant from LA then begins his hilarious, but sincere, attempts at becoming a normal person.
This is a delightful story showcasing Mr. Klune’s particular flavor of humor while not shying away from some serious commentary about the difference between what we call normal and how we all actually behave. This was also my first experience of an asexual character, but I definitely wasn’t left wanting for more. Klune does an amazing job at portraying the gravity (and eroticism) of just a hug when it is done with full intent.
I’ll probably take away some pointers from this book, some on how to be normal and some on how to embrace my abnormality.
Overall rating 4/5