Title: How to be a Normal Person (Unabridged)
Author: TJ Klune
Narrator: Derrick McClain
Length: 11 hours, 7 minutes
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press LLC (15 April 2016)
Heat Level: Explicit
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ 5 Hearts
Blurb: 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?
Review: I am not going to make it a secret – I absolutely adore TJ Klune, I love how he can make you laugh so hard for the entire length of a book also make you feel feels that give you the “Wookie cry face”. How to be A Normal Person does exactly that! Of course, I have to add that the brilliant narration by Derrick McClain is just spot on and pulls all the right emotions and his tone is so perfect as the voice of main character Gustavo Tiberius.
Ok, yes, I did read this book when it came out but for me the audiobook just elevated the story to an entire other level. Gustavo Tiberius is a bit of a “Grumpy Gus” and has exactly zero social skills despite having the friendship of some rather quirky characters including 3 elderly ladies who are either in a lesbian three-way or are sisters (and the only members of the town’s vespa gang) and Lotte who owns that coffee shop down the street. His one link to the world, his father known to everyone as Pastor Tommy died of cancer a few years ago. He runs his father’s video rental store, which Gustavo only can get by because he happens to also be the land lord to much of the town’s shops – another part of his father’s legacy.
Then one day Casey shows up. Casey is a stoner hipster that makes me think of Shaggy from the Scooby Doo gang and brings to mind the line from Star Wars “…half-witted, scruffy looking nerf-herder” as the perfect description. Casey is the exact opposite of Gustavo – he loves social media, he loves people… he also happens to be a famous author. In many ways, I think that Casey is much like Pastor Tommy (who was also a stoner) and supports the old proverb that you look for a partner with the same personality of your father/mother, depending on your sexuality.
With Casey showing up, Gustavo starts to learn more about himself and his feelings. And that is where the title of the book comes into play: How to be a Normal Person. To be with Casey, Gustavo thinks that he needs to research and go through the steps to be a normal person so that Casey would be attracted to him. It seriously made me want to cry for Gus, but then again that is the message of the book – it’s ok to be yourself, even if you an anti-social realist who doesn’t have the internet or a smart phone, or if you are an asexual stoner hipster who can hastag like nobody’s business.
As a bit of a teaser, while some of Gus’s flash backs to conversations with his father are both sweet and at some points very sad, they were also quite funny. Then there are the “recorded phone calls” with his internet provider – OMG, so funny, I loved the book for those few bits of dialogue alone.
Fans of TJ Klune will not be disappointed, to those that don’t know TJ Klune – you need to get onto it. The well paced and well developed story hits all the emotional highs and lows that all I can say is I recommend this to everyone who loves MM romance!