Rating: 2.5 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Length: Novella


Clay and Stanton are, reluctantly, hosting their annual Christmas party. The caterer, the waitstaff, the security, the food … everything is ready and waiting. But while taking a walk around the neighborhood, the two men find a box filled with three abandoned kittens. Of course, they have to take them home, while calling a friend, Q, who happens to be a veterinarian. Good things come in threes and, for Clay and Stanton, it’s three trios — three lost kittens, three lost travelers, and three men falling into bed with one another.

Despite the theme, this book felt mostly like a giant party with people being jerks to one another, sniping at and gossiping about anyone and everyone. It’s the fake smiles, the copious liquor, and the overall feeling that no one actually likes anyone else. Every character sounds the same to me, and makes the same offhand, dismissive, and insulting comments (for example, rude comments towards strippers, or making fun of Michael Jackson’s ‘bad touch” room). And I don’t know why. These things don’t feel brought up for any reason other than to be edgy and cruel and, especially in a holiday book, it felt jarring and off-putting. It’s also just mean and mean spirited. For example:

“[…] their friend Rena, who spoke so loudly that— true story— a deaf person once believed their hearing had been miraculously restored.”

Maybe the line is meant to be funny but, to me, it’s unnecessary and offensive. It goes along with calling a pair of gay men “old fruits,” or calling religious people “pinheads who cling to a made-up book of fictional characters known as The Bible.” There’s also a strange defensiveness about nepo babies, which stood out, as Stanton has Hollywood connections. Maybe this is meant to be snarky or bitchy — like drag queens throwing shade — but it isn’t funny. I just didn’t get anything from these attempts at humor other than making me dislike the characters for their sheer nastiness, condescension, and bitchery.

Stanton and Clay are two men who have been together for years and, now middle aged, are rich enough to retire and throw parties for people they don’t like. They come across as pretentious and unkind. When the predictably woke and socially aware granddaughter of one of Stanton and Clay’s rich acquaintances wants to talk about Stanton about the theater — Stanton is the great-grandson of one of the founders of Universal; an uncle produced Doctor Zhivago; and a cousin wrote an Oscar-winning screenplay; he knows Lin-Manuel Miranda and has been photographed with a who’s who of theater — he cuts her down, sneering, telling her he’ll only let her use his name if she goes to college and then interns for a few years. Maybe it’s meant to be well-meaning in a work-your-way-up kid, or an earn-your-place, but it just comes across like an asshole making fun of a kid. A kid who talks just like he does, snarks back just like he does (at someone she wants a favor from), and feels just as shallow and vapid as he is.

The second party in the book, presumably meant to show how characters have changed after their Christmas adventures, feels like just a repeat of the first one, only with a tacked on note that the poor family they helped at Christmas is now doing so much better for having met Stanton and Clay. In the end, nothing happened and nothing changed, and I do not recommend this book.