Title: My Fairy Godmother is a Drag Queen
Author: David Clawson
Release Date: 05/02/2017
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Genre: LGBTQA+, Fairy Tale Retelling
Age Group: 14-17
My Rating: 1 star
Chris Bellows is just trying to get through high school and survive being the only stepchild in the social-climbing Fontaine family, whose recently diminished fortune hasn’t dimmed their desire to mingle with Upper East Side society. Chris sometimes feels more like a maid than part of the family. But when Chris’s stepsister Kimberly begins dating golden boy J. J. Kennerly, heir to a political dynasty, everything changes. Because Chris and J. J. fall in love . . . with each other.
With the help of a new friend, Coco Chanel Jones, Chris learns to be comfortable in his own skin, let himself fall in love and be loved, and discovers that maybe he was wrong about his step-family all along. All it takes is one fairy godmother dressed as Diana Ross to change the course of his life.
My Fairy Godmother is a Drag Queen is a Cinderella retelling for the modern reader. The novel expertly balances issues like sexuality, family and financial troubles, and self-discovery with more lighthearted moments like how one rogue shoe can launch a secret, whirlwind romance and a chance meeting with a drag queen can spark magic and light in a once dark reality.
(Summary from GoodReads.com)
I received a free ebook version of this book from NetGalley.com and the publishers in exchange for an honest review.
This book took me ages to finish. Frankly, I would have given up on it after the first few chapters if it hadn’t been an ARC. I really, really wanted to like this book. I’m a fan of retellings, especially ones that include more diversity than the original. I just… didn’t. Not all representation is good representation, and this book made me uncomfortable. To say it is problematic is being polite.
First, it is very transphobic. This book is highly focused on gender expression being narrowed down to “male” and “female” and allows very little room for fluidity. Physical sex is continuously linked with gender expression, and everything is reduced down to male or female. The MC frequently wonders why anyone would want to deviate from their assigned-at-birth gender, but never asks Coco any questions and gives no effort towards understanding her, or reducing his ignorance. Also the MC is very interested in what his drag queen fairy godmother has between their legs.
Second, it is rather racist. Duane comes off more as a caricature of a black person than anything. Duane is also described as being “thuggish” due to their skin color, and it is assumed that they are from Harlem only because they’re black.
Third, there’s just some really bad decisions that are written off as fine, and off-color jokes. Chris and his step-sister slip their (step)mother Xanax without her permission or consent, and mix it with alcohol which is frankly dangerous and could easily lead to an overdose and death. There’s some joking about eating disorders (a character jokes that she wishes she were bulimic so she could be thinner).
Finally, the writing is just… not that great. The beginning is just a huge info dump, page after page of it. The entire book relies upon stereotypes and cliches, both of which are boring to read. Some of the humor was actually humorous, but couldn’t make up for the issues of the book.