Kage Alan's debut novel, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to My Sexual Orientation,
is a coming of age story about 19-year-old Andy Stevenson, a soon-to-be college sophomore who
is struggling with his sexual identity in 1989. It is written in an autobiographical style and
laced with wit. Andy, like so many gay young men, is in denial, often spouting stereotypical
responses about homosexuality. It isn't that he's just closeted; he has no concept of what gay
culture is about. When Andy's grandmother insists he accompany her to California for her
brother's 50th wedding anniversary party, Andy eagerly leaves his no-future summer job at a
discount department store and heads off for a week of fun. Here, though, he comes face-to-face
with his own sexuality when his slightly older cousin, Jordan, introduces him to the local gay
culture and confronts Andy about his own denial. In a few short days, Andy leaves California
with a greater understanding of himself and an even clearer direction for his life: he wants to
be a novelist.
I found A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to My Sexual Orientation to be a warm story
about Andy's inner struggle with himself and his family's expectations of him. But it also has
some unforgettable characters like his boozing Grandmother, his homophobic great-uncle Chester,
and his precocious nine-year-old cousin Lenny, who knows how to make martinis and mint juleps.
Andy's outrageous observations of people sometimes go over the top, but at other times are right
on the money. In general, the book reads a bit like continuous stand-up comedy, which in places
clouds the story, but mostly reinforces Andy and the milieu in which he lives.
Kage Alan continues the story in Andy Stevenson vs The Lord of the Loins
reviewed on Myshelf.com). The books were released just days apart.