Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender

According to my Goodreads account, I started reading Felix Ever After about a week before it's publication date. I was so excited to have been given the opportunity to preview Callender's new work and I dove right in. Then I bailed.

I was 30% into my digital ARC and could not stand how immature Felix was. I think the stir-craziness of the lockdown may have affected my patience with books at the time. Fast forward 9 months or so and the book is one the selections for this year's #24in48GroupRead. Since I had finished reading King and the Dragonflies earlier this year, I decided to trust Callender since they have not let me astray yet.

I am writing this with less than 50 pages to go before I finish the book. I writing this because I am motivated by a sense of guilt for not trusting Callender, which I know how ridiculous this is for I have never met the author and they are completely unaware that I bailed on what is perhaps the most personal of their books to date. I am writing this because through their own coming out process, Callender had to place themself in a vulnerable position which they then channeled into creating Felix's moving narrative.

I had stopped reading the book because Felix wanted revenge on a person because he assumed that person had been responsible for an art installation that deadnamed him and showed pictures of him before he transitioned. Felix had no evidence that the person he assumed was guilty was responsible for the gallery and yet he was willing to inflict severe emotional damage on this person. I stopped reading when Felix slid into the guy's DM's because it was obvious that this guy was not the culprit. 

I judged Felix. I expected more from him.

Decades removed from my own feelings when I was discovering my identity, I forgot that during that stage one can be self-conscious to be point of being a live wire, ready to spark at any perceived slight. I should have been understanding, but instead, I judged. I should have trust Callender. I should have trusted Balzar & Bray.

It has taken me three hours and twelve minute to reach the 87% mark. The point when Felix finally understands that he is deserving of love. Felix is coming to terms with the fact that over and over again he has been the most vulnerable with the wrong people.

Dang if I couldn't relate. I don't know what's going to happen in the remainder of the book. It doesn't matter. Callender has done something extraordinary. They have created a character who is questioning many things: not just his identity, but his own sense of self, his self worth, and who should have the privilege of seeing who he truly is; of loving him just as he is, questions and all. Isn't that a journey we can all relate to?


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