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.
So, when I saw the title of this book, I knew that I had to request it. A Cinderella re-telling with a drag queen as a fairy godmother? YES PLEASE! However, I’m very sad to say that I didn’t like the book very much (although the title remains one of my favourites). First of all, I really didn’t find Chris an interesting main character, especially because it is written in first person. First person only really works for me when the character has a really huge personality, and Chris just…doesn’t.
I also found many parts of the book to be quite uncomfortable. There are rape jokes and ableist comments, and I found the representation of drag queens to be quite stereotypical. I don’t know if the author did any research about them, but, there were specific passages that made me unsure about his knowledge about the LGBT+ community as a whole. For example:
And then there was this passage:
ETA: a couple of commenters have mentioned to me that this is quite a realistic portrayal of drag queens and the way they speak. However, this does not negate the misogyny and ableism within the language. I wish that the author had made a comment upon these things rather than just letting it slide.
In all, the Cinderella aspect was quite flimsy to begin with, and I found the characters uninteresting and often problematic. Not the book for me, I’m afraid.