Erryn reviews Mascara and Bandages by Brandon Witt (Published May 9, 2020, 170 pages) The audiobook version of this novella was narrated by Gerrod Larkyn, on August 4, 2020, and is 3 hrs and 51 mins long. A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Why I read this book: Brandon Witt audiobooks are a must for me.
Ariel Merman is a new drag queen who finds a family at Hamburger Mary’s. After a performance as Ariel, Zachary Cooper walks home in his makeup and is physically assaulted by homophobes. Zachary’s worry that the attack has thrown a wrench in his good fortune is eased when he looks into the eyes of his doctor.
Dr. Teegan Chau is a little lost after divorcing his wife and coming out of the closet, but he can’t deny his attraction to the young man he patches up. When Zachary takes the initiative and asks Teegan out, romance is the easy part of their blossoming relationship – as they deal with an ex-wife and child, being a drag queen in a heteronormative culture, Zachary’s lingering trauma, and Teegan acclimating to life as part of an out-and-proud gay couple.
The challenges seem daunting. Can Zachary and Teegan make it through the rough patches and take a chance on love?
I had met Ariel Merman in my previous visit to Hamburger Mary’s and I was thrilled to see she was getting her own book. That excitement was dimmed during the first scene when there was a violent gay bashing. The violence was meant to shock and it did. Zachary was heading home, still wearing his make-up from the drag show when he gets viciously attacked. My heart broke.
Enter Teegan. Dr. Chau is Zach’s surgeon but he’s also drawn to the young man. The first full scene between the two of them was poignant and so it’s wasn’t a surprise they connected. Teegan has an interesting backstory. He has an ex-wife and daughter – both of whom he adores. Splitting with his wife was something really hard but it happened when he could no longer hide the fact he was gay. Connecting with Zach gives him the opportunity to explore that side of him. The chance to share his life with someone of the same sex. Watching that transformation was heartening.
The eventual blending of lives happened seamlessly. Teegan’s daughter Megan loves The Little Mermaid so she’s thrilled Daddy’s new boyfriend does such a great Ariel impersonation. Teegan’s ex-wife Kelly just wants him to be happy so she’s thrilled Zach brings joy to him. The crew at Hamburger Mary’s are accepting as well. It’s just a happy book but the underlying trauma is never far and Zach had to find courage to deal with it. And he did. So I got my happy ending.
Gerrod Larkyn narrates this series and I think he does a great job. I can’t wait for the last book.
Brandon Witt’s outlook on life is greatly influenced by his first eighteen years of growing up gay in a small town in the Ozarks, as well as fifteen years as a counselor and special education teacher for students with severe emotional disabilities. Add to that his obsession with corgis and mermaids, then factor in an unhealthy love affair with cheeseburgers, and you realize that with all those issues, he’s got plenty to write about…