Me, My Dad and the End of the Rainbow is another book that has been raved about on social media. Having read Alex Gino’s books that feature and explore the LGBT+ community I was keen to see what Benjamin Dean’s debut had to offer.
Parents have a way of dropping bombshells when you are least expecting them. Whether it be the news of moving home or the arrival of a new sibling or any number of other things, you can never be prepared for the moment your parents tell you that they have something they need to talk to you about. And when Archie Albright's dad drops some life-changing news, Archie finds his life exploding into a million different pieces.
In a desperate attempt to try and piece things back together and find the answers to all of the questions that are occupying his head he rounds up his friends, Bell and Seb, and they head off to London in search of answers that they hope might lie at the end of the rainbow…
Oh, so much love for this book. It is a wonderfully colourful adventure filled with mishaps, glitter and sparkles as Archie searches for the answers to his many questions and how to remove the awkwardness that has descended between he and his dad ever since his dad came out. The story is completely believable and will be relatable to many readers who are either trying to understand their own feelings or going through the same experiences as Archie. The book is told through the voice of Archie and you immediately feel connected to him as he chatters away to you. It isn’t long before he’s sharing secrets and letting you into his life - the highs and the lows, the good times and the bad. All Archie wants is to fill the void that he feels has appeared ever since his dad revealed his news, he is trying to find the answers to the questions he doesn’t know how to ask and is seeking reassurances that his dad is not going to change or stop loving him. He is simply desperate to fix what he thinks is broken.
Reassurances and advice come in many forms as Archie is lovingly accepted and embraced by everyone from the LGBT+community; Archie’s babysitter Oscar, a gay teenager, has a rather confusing explanation involving cake, and there are delightful drag queens and an older lesbian couple who are all keen to share their experiences and epitomise the wonderful friendliness and supportive nature of the LGBT+ community. Archie also has his two best friends, Bell and Seb, who will be there for Archie through thick and thin even if it means getting thrown in jail or being grounded forever (just a couple of worrier Seb’s many overreactions).
What Dean has written is a celebration of people and particularly the LGBT+ community. And it gives the message to readers that change does not have to be scary. Archie eventually comes to realise that beneath everything the only thing that matters is his dad is still his dad and will love him just the same. The fact that his dad is gay only becomes an issue if people make it an issue. This is touched upon very briefly when dad tells his mates that he is gay and they don’t react in such a positive and understanding way.
Bursting with more colour than a packet of Skittles, this is a heart-warming hug of a book that the world needs and it deserves to find its way into the hands of readers both young and old.
Recommended for 9+.
With thanks to Simon & Schuster Children’s and Benjamin Dean for the advanced reader copy that was received through Netgalley.