My Fairy Godmother is a Drag Queen by David Clawson
Dates Read: May 9 – May 14
Print Length: 336 pages
Publication Date: May 2, 2017
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBT+
What a quirky, fun, interesting little piece.
“Straight girl with a crush on me, I’m sorry if you were having visions of a long romance and eventual marriage to the only guy you’ve ever known who would also rather watch episode after episode of Gilmore Girls reruns than football or a Transformers marathon.”
My Fairy Godmother is a Drag Queen is very (and when I say very, I mean very) loosely based off Cinderella. We follow Chris, who after the death of his father lives an almost self-imposed Cinderella-esque lifestyle with his step-family. His stepmother and stepsister have set their eyes on almost-royalty J.J. Kennerly in hopes of restoring their name and fortune. All Chris wants is to attend the Autumnal Ball with his family, and with the little help of drag queen Coco Chanel Jones, Chris might just make it… and with the help of a rogue shoe, snag J.J. for himself.
“I had just inadvertently kicked a shoe right at the face of The Most Eligible Bachelor in America, The Most Handsome Man I Had Ever Seen In My Life, and The Man Who Was Supposed To Save My Family.”
This book has two really good things going for it: Chris’s voice as a narrator is simply hilarious. I caught myself snickering more times than I can count. He’s outlandishly dramatic, which is always good for a laugh. This is the kind of book that needs first person narration because of the personality in there. He’s delightfully optimistic, a hopeless romantic, and while he may let people walk all over him most of the time, when it really matters, he does stand up for himself.
The second thing is Coco Chanel Jones, aka Duane, who educates Chris on just what it means to be a drag queen. I work in theatre in Manhattan, so I have come across my fair share of drag queens. Coco may be a bit of a stereotype… but I have certainly met a drag queen just like her. Whether Chris is hanging out with Duane or Coco, we can always expect hysterical and even more dramatic-than-Chris moments.
“My heart stopped. Luckily my bladder control did not.”
I find a lot of people talk about instalove, and quite often I think people are exaggerating. I don’t think it’s that prominent, or I think their examples are a stretch. But in the case of this book, I’d definitely say there is a major case of instalove between Chris and J.J. They meet, they lock eyes, there’s instant chemistry. Which doesn’t actually bother me. It’s the way they jumped on each other. Then we’re told how they fall in love, we’re told when they fall in love, we’re told they fall in love… but we don’t see it. So it’s hard to really get behind them as a couple.
The ending wraps up extremely conveniently and quickly in one of the most extreme cases of deus ex machina I’ve ever seen. Chris does, however, point this out (even using the term deus ex machina), and so it didn’t bother me nearly as much as it could have.
This is a really fun story about love, acceptance, friendship, self-reflection, pride, and a million things in between. I think if I’d felt more connected to Chris and J.J.’s relationship, I could have given this a higher rating. But even now that I’m done with the novel, I feel like I still don’t know enough about J.J. He almost just seems like a perfect cardboard cutout, rather than a well-developed character.
“Just as [Duane] started to walk out, he SCREAMED at the top of his lungs, jumped back, and slammed the door shut with a THUD! … Standing on the other side was J.J. Kennerly!”
I can say for sure I’ve never read another story quite like this. Yes, Cinderella retellings are everywhere, and this is definitely not the first LGBT+ book I’ve read. But I’ve certainly never read any book where a fabulous drag queen like Coco Chanel Jones appears.
If you’re looking for a different kind of contemporary read or a different kind of a Cinderella retelling, this book is definitely fun. Drag is not a huge part of the story, just as a warning if you think you’re going to get tons of drag and burlesque action. But this was definitely odd and interesting.
“Love is supposed to be the truest and most esteemed emotion in the world, but many of these people would only be willing to admire it on their own terms, under their own rules.”
tl;dr — A fun and quirky read; a loose Cinderella retelling with a gay twist.
Thank you NetGalley for providing this e-ARC in exchange for my honest review.