“One Dyke Cozy” by Rhani D’Chae

This is Ms D’Chae’s best work to date. Funny, sad, sincere, honest, utterly believable, beautifully written, you will find it hard to put down. It tells the story of her relationship with her best friend Shy, whom she met when Shy and her family moved in next door. They were in their eighth year at the time, and were ‘besties’ thereafter until disease ended Shy’s life all too soon in comparatively early adulthood.

The honesty can be raw, but is always on the money. “Had we never met, I truly believe I would’ve lived, grown old, and died as a carbon copy of my mother … She was everything my mother abhorred, and I wanted to be just like her.”

Shy is gay, and brave at a time when being gay wasn’t something many people talked about openly. She is scathingly funny when Gabs, who isn’t gay and innocently wild about boys, asks her who she’s going to the Junior Prom with. She ticks off the possibilities: “Randy West? He hits some high notes with that trumpet of his. He might be a festive date. Pete Brewster? Now there’s a party waiting to happen. We could share a table with the rest of the nerd brigade and talk about comic books and who’s doing what at the science fair. Toby Gleason? We could while away the hours talking about how many wins he scored for the debate team, but I doubt I’d get a chance to say much.” Gabs, however, won’t give up. “Think, Shy. There has to be somebody – with a penis – you could share a table with for a few hours and not kill.” Shy finally settles on Brian Walsh, because he can’t take his dream date to the Prom either.

You get to know them both pretty well by the end of this fairly short book, and in my view the author did not put a foot wrong in the telling of the tale. I don’t mind admitting that I cried at their parting. I’m talking real tears, like the ones I cry reading some of my own chapters. I promise you that is pretty high praise. I could enjoy quoting choice bits for a long time, but suffice it to say I can honestly recommend “One Dyke Cozy” without reservation (something I rarely do). It’s a terrific book.