A Fag for Her Fifties is a book of stories, first and foremost, but they tie together into a cohesive novel that tells the whimsical story of an unlikely friendship between a woman in her 50s and a gay author of fairy tales.
Beulah Mae Osguard (called “Charity” by her friends) is unlucky enough to be in prison, but she’s lucky enough to have a caring and devoted best friend in B MacGregor (the author’s name, most likely a pen name, is the same as the narrator’s). B is a “Fag-tabulous gay man in his fifties” who visits Charity religiously every week. As B recounts how they met—through Charity’s Craigslist ad seeking a gay man who can help her turn her life around—he tells stories about their lives together to get her through the monotonous weeks.
The overarching narrative thread of the novel is of Charity’s imprisonment and her relationship with B, and each chapter is framed with a prison visit. It’s an effective storytelling device; the author knows how to draw out a story well, balancing between pacing and suspense. As readers come to know and love these characters, they’ll be intrigued by how exactly B and Charity became such good friends, which will keep them hooked on the novel.
The writing in A Fag for Her Fifties is confident and strong, much like the book’s main character, B. The prose style makes the book a pleasure to read, as the author introduces whimsy and delight into every sentence. And readers will appreciate the well-developed characters and unique premise, as well as the novel’s sense of joy.
This isn’t a book that will necessarily appeal to men, but women who are in the mood for an escapist story with an out-and-proud main character will find A Fag for Her Fifties the perfect choice.