Felix Ever After
Felix has the whole summer ahead of him to develop his application for Art school. He’s got his best friend Ezra and a handful of people that he hates to hang out with. He’s completely open about his life post gender-confirming surgery, but he still hasn’t settled into the ‘right’ label. When his pre-transition Instagram photos go public Felix is consumed with finding and blaming the person responsible.
I didn’t feel gripped by this novel. I picked up and finished a couple of non-fiction books concurrently with this one because I wasn’t drawn to Felix. The way that Felix didn’t seem to see love when he was looking for it felt true to me. I felt a little blindsided though by the ending, because I didn’t see how Felix could be so oblivious. I don’t see why a poly relationship couldn’t have worked as well.
It starts out provocatively with a gallery of Felix’s dead name and fake gender in the local art school, and follows with Felix’s confusion and pain at his evolving friendships. However, there were a number of things that weren’t likely or logical.
I was a bit grumpy over the entitled nature of Felix’s summer school. If your parent has had to sacrifice their home for you to go to a selective school, that’s probably a bad thing! And also, is everyone there Queer? Everyone is talented and fantastic! I can’t think of a single example of this in Australia. Even at talent-entry art schools (I’m thinking of the VCA) aren’t just composed of Queers. Not to mention that the idea of a scholarship to a top-tier university would be subsidised to some extent in Australia by our nominally public higher education system and integrated system of support.
I didn’t really get the connection to Felix’s mother. I felt like there could have been a deeper level of understanding here – even a sense of closure from something? He could have chased her down? What about his dad’s feelings? The poor guy seems to be struggling on trying to keep a meaningful relationship with his son and Felix is too wrapped up in his own problems to ‘get it’. Felix wants more out of everyone else and that seems unfair to me.
I cannot truly understand how it feels to be a trans individual, but I’d like to hope that by reading more and listening to more lived experiences I can be a compassionate and active advocate for Queers like me. This is particularly true in my current role where I assist science graduates with finding jobs – employment of trans and non-binary individuals is a thorny problem with no one right answer. 3 stars from me.