Title: Jayne and the Average North Dakotan
Author: Chandler Myer
Publisher: Atmosphere Press
Release Date: January 21, 2023
Genre(s): Coming of Age, Coming Out, Drag Queens
Page Count: 332
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Ooh, I loved this book from just reading the title, and doncha know it's a pretty great read! It does thoroughly answer Randy Larson's burning question: "How did I end up hungover in a green taffeta gown with a gargantuan Jayne Mansfield drag queen mothering me? That's a complicated story. You see, I was destinated to live the life of an average North Dakotan. Then, everything changed."
32-year-old Randy grew up in Minot, North Dakota ("Why not Minot?") and after the death of his parents (who basically raised him as a middle-aged man reading the Minot Times and eating dinner at 5:00 pm), Randy decides to move to an interesting big city with a gay community (and a subway ... "I've never been on a subway, but I know it's a glamorous way famous and sophisticated people get around"), which turns out to be Washington DC.
Randy dreams of having a fairy godmother to teach him all the things he needs to know about being gay ("she would also explain how a "thruple" works) and after a disastrous showing at the 17th Street High Heel Drag Race, finally meets 6'9" Jayne Mansfield, who introduces him to the Brothel (Joan, Bette, Bette, Marilyn, Cher and Lea DeLaria), moves into his miniscule apartment, teaches him how to drink massive quantities of vodka, badgers him to buy clothes other than Toughskins, and that's just the first day.
What follows is a glorious melange of kissing a lot of frogs until Randy finally finds his Prince Charming (or as Jayne says "Prince Pretty Pants"). It's a hysterical, heartwarming, weird and strange story, with every character beautifully fleshed out. Randy goes from a sweet, doughy closeted nerd to, well .... a better dressed doughy nerd with a better decorated apartment, a lot more confidence, and self-esteem. Randy has grown up into a feisty, self-sufficient adult and you cheer for him every step of the way. 5 stars.
I received an ARC from the Publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.