First Time for Everything by Henry Fry
published May 10th, 2022
A “hilarious, tender, raw, and heart-stoppingly moving” (Amanda Eyre Ward) debut about a down-on-his-luck gay man working out how he fits into the world, making up for lost time, and opening himself up to life’s possibilities
“Fry brings a refreshing voice to the queer coming-of-age novel with characters whose stories don’t revolve around trauma. Instead, everyday experiences are portrayed with drama and delight.”—The Washington Post (New & Noteworthy)
Danny Scudd is absolutely fine. He always dreamed of escaping the small-town life of his parents’ fish-and-chip shop, moving to London, and becoming a journalist. And, after five years in the city, his career isn’t exactly awful, and his relationship with pretentious Tobbs isn’t exactly unfulfilling. Certainly his limited-edition Dolly Parton vinyls and many (maybe too many) house plants are hitting the spot. But his world is flipped upside down when a visit to the local clinic reveals that Tobbs might not have been exactly faithful. In fact, Tobbs claims they were never operating under the “heteronormative paradigm” of monogamy to begin with. Oh, and Danny’s flatmates are unceremoniously evicting him because they want to start a family. It’s all going quite well.
Newly single and with nowhere to live, Danny is forced to move in with his best friend, Jacob, a flamboyant nonbinary artist whom he’s known since childhood, and their eccentric group of friends living in an East London “commune.” What follows is a colorful voyage of discovery through modern queer life, dating, work, and lots of therapy—all places Danny has always been too afraid to fully explore. Upon realizing just how little he knows about himself and his sexuality, he careens from one questionable decision (and man) to another, relying on his inscrutable new therapist and housemates to help him face the demons he’s spent his entire life trying to repress. Is he really fine, after all?
This book is REALLY funny. It’s got an incredible voice and narration, and the main character, Danny, is phenomenal — and also his life is falling apart. The cast of accompanying characters is fantastic, funny, and incredible. The only bad thing about this book is that it’s set in London and it’s British, but for that, I could envision this cast of characters as my own friends. Five stars. Storygraph link. Booksweet link.