Author: Marshall Thornton
Narrator: Joel Leslie
Run Time: 6 hours and 23 minutes
Category: Romantic Comedy
At a Glance: Lovely romance, hilarious comedy, and a truly satisfying ending. And Joel Leslie is transcendent.
Reviewed By: Cassie
Blurb: Queeny cocktail waiter Lionel wakes up to find himself in bed with Dog, a straight-acting softball player, and the two embark on a rocky road to romance. A journey that requires coming out of the closet, going into the closet, a pair of red high heels, many pairs of red high heels, a failed intervention, a couple of aborted dates, and homemade pom-poms. Mostly, Lionel and Dog learn what it means to be a man.
Review: This is a book that has gotten some serious recognition. It was a finalist for the 2016 Lambda Award in Gay Romance, got a starred review at Publisher’s Weekly, and was a runner-up 2016 Rainbow Awards Gay Romantic Comedy. Ya’ll? It is worth the hype. It’s fantastic.
Lionel is a man who knows who he is and what he likes, and he’s not ashamed of himself or of his preferences. Our other MC—Dog—isn’t a bad guy, but he hasn’t put much thought into why he likes the guys he likes. He also hasn’t given any notice or consideration to the attitudes and hidden (and not-so hidden) prejudices running rampant in his softball team. He’s not unkind, just un-thoughful—until Lionel pops (fabulously!) into his life. Suddenly, Dog can’t stay blind to the prejudice, both his friends’ and his own, and he has to think fast to hang on to what he discovers he really wants.
I love this story. It’s got a message—seriously, you cannot miss the moral of this story—it’s blatant, and it’s timely. But for all that, it never feels heavy-handed or like you’re being beaten about the head and shoulders with it. Possibly that’s because the writing is just so dang funny. The dialogue is hilarious, and Lionel is an absolute campy hoot, without being too much of a caricature. I enjoyed every moment and was cackling out loud within the first five minutes of the book.
I think we all know by now that a wonderful piece of writing can be ruined by a narrator who’s not up to snuff. I’ve always liked Joel Leslie and appreciated his narration; he’s very talented. I’ve never been disappointed by any of his work. But in Femme? Joel Leslie is transcendent. He IS Lionel. He IS Dog. I want to say that he made the story, but it really is an excellent book on it’s own. So he didn’t make it, but Leslie’s narration takes the audiobook to the next level. Truly, truly fantastic. I’ve already listened to it twice, and will be re-listening to it on a regular rotation. Excellent.
If you’ve read the book already, you need it in audio. It’s a new way to experience this awesome story. I promise you it will be fresh and hilarious. Absolutely worth your time. Haven’t read it? PICK THIS UP. Femme is the comedy that will brighten your life this week. It’s got a satisfying ending and feels like escapist fun, but Marshall Thornton still treats his characters and message with respect and care—which is probably my favorite part of the whole thing.
You can buy Femme here: