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May 23, 2022

First Time for Everything by Henry Fry ~ a Review

by MK French

Danny Scudd left small-town life for London, and after five years he has a stable career as a journalist, a relationship with pretentious Tobbs, and roommates he likes. Unfortunately, it seems that Tobbs wasn't faithful and Danny's roommates want to kick him out to start a family. This leaves Danny moving in with his best friend Jacob, a nonbinary artist living in an East End commune. Navigating queer life, therapy, work, and relationships, Danny must learn who he actually is after all.

Amazon affiliation links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

book cover of friendship fiction novel First Time for Everything by Henry Fry
May 2022; Ballantine Books; 978-0593358702
audio, ebook, print (400 pages); friendship fiction

Within the first few chapters, Danny strikes me as the anxious, timid wallflower of romance novels that makes me grind my teeth. His boyfriend and roommates are awful to him, belittling his interests and identity, and making him question how much he actually means to them. He bends over backwards to make them happy, then insists he's happy and loved. Laura is obnoxious and self-centered, as are all her friends, and Danny's interactions with them make me want to pull him away and say "Oh, honey, no," and point him toward better people. While he certainly isn't the flamboyant person that Jacob is, he's loved and appreciated for who he is by them. Jacob pushes Danny into therapy after several panic attacks, and I agree it's sorely needed after the chaos of the first quarter of the book. 

Though he's an adult, Danny acts like he's going through a second adolescence. Which probably gives you a big clue about the erratic emotions and behavior he has and the conflicts that develop. He suppressed his true personality for so long, trying to please everyone, that now he's trying hard to be the exact opposite. It goes about as well as you expect. He does work on his behavior; thanks to therapy, he has a grounded sounding board to help him give context to the world around him, helping him to move forward. I wish him well and was glad to see a positive outcome to his struggles. 

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and a golden retriever. 

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