I wanted to love The Right Thing to Do at the Right Time. It has a trans Jewish MC, it has a fantastic pitch of Fiddlers on the Roof and Jane Austen – but this book didn’t grab me.
Ari Wexler, a trans guy in his late 20s, is barely scraping by. His family life is a mess, he feels like a failure when it comes to love, and his job at a music library is on the rocks. His relationship with Itche Mattes, his doting best friend, helps him get through the days. Then a famous actress comes to town and sweeps Itche off his feet, leaving her dreadful sidekick to step on Ari’s toes.
As Ari’s despair grows, a fascinating music project falls into his lap, and he s faced with a choice: to remain within his comfort zone, however small and stifling, or to take a risk that could bring meaning and joy to his life.
This had all the makings of something I would like. I picked it up because of the fantastic pitch and the whole summary sounded amazing. But I read about 30% and it didn’t grab me – it didn’t make me want to keep reading. It is such a shame because I don’t even really know why. So I want to list what I loved and what didn’t draw me.
- I loved that our MC is Trans and Jewish. Like that is just so amazing. Not to mention this, but there are important conversations about misgendering and pronouns and names. So it’s fantastic to read about and it’s great to see which characters are supportive, and which aren’t.
- There is wonderful Jewish representation throughout. There are concepts and words and traditions and it was just so great to read about. It taught me a lot and it never felt like I couldn’t access it.
- There’s this fantastic self-introspective narrative voice that is just so clever.
- I am such a sucker for family dynamic books and this one has so much in this area!
- The friendship Ari has with his best friend, Itche, is really important to him and also this book. Friendship to the win!
- It didn’t grab me. It didn’t make me feel like I had to keep reading or like the plot made me need to keep going. Maybe I’m not the right person for this, or not in the right head space, but it didn’t make me need to read.
If you liked any of the things I liked, check this out, and if you read it, please let me know your thoughts. You can find it on Goodreads.
You ever have those books you want to love and finish, but can’t?
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