Howie gets a job at Artie Kraft's Arts 'N Crafts hoping to score with his lady coworkers. After all, girls love a sensitive guy, and what's more sensitive than dedicating your life to selling yarn and ... stuff? (Okay, so maybe it'd be a good idea to actually learn what one sells at an arts 'n crafts store.) But things don't go exactly according to plan. Coworker #1 is Kristy: blonde, bubbly, unattainable perfection. Coworker #2 is Cora: tiny, much-pierced, and way too fierce to screw with in any sense. And Coworker #3 is, well, Arthur. It goes without saying that he’s not an option. Right?
Yeah, Howie’s life just got straight up confusing.
This book made me happy. I smiled and I laughed. We are in Howie's first person present tense as he discovers that maybe his problems with getting laid is that he doesn't really want to have sex with women.
The narrative here is snark, mixed with reflection and freak out and self deprecation. There is a large cast and a great deal going on and Johnson takes the time to craft each element and moment.
At first Howie, isn't very likable as he avoids himself because of grief and other rambles of young adulthood.
I love that he is at community college. I love his mom and that he has friends. His friends aren't perfect and the working out of new dynamics as they age and Howie incorporates more into his life (new job, friends, and love interest) are really well done.
Howie doesn't like Artie, his new boss, at first. He doesn't like much of anyone really. This is a slow burn and behind closed doors romance. Because we are so stuck in Howie's head, I would have liked those doors to be open so that we could get a better view of Arthur's interaction on an intimate level but there is good chemistry between them.
Artie is a bit of saint to put up with the hither and yon, dither and bolt, behavior that is Howie processing that is is gay despite all the internal time Howie has spent not thinking about who he is attracted too and trying to wedge himself into likely the opposite sex.
Artie grows as well and the joy these too find in each other is a delight.
I love the pacing of this book and the banter. The integrated life and all the dynamics of each characters is so well done. I like especially that a really kind and sweet character in Howie co worker Kristy instead of being made fun of is treasured and the same for Howie's brother's socially awkward girlfriend brought home for the holidays. And this valuing of all these different kinds of people (even a really bro dude) is what makes this book special.
I know I will reread this one!