The folks from the LGBTQ centre are a mix of lovely and grumpy old people who throw out love-hate banter at all their classes. Clyde, Leo’s old-person partner and friend, is hilariously grumpy –like, people have made formal complaints about his ridiculous insults. The Clyde sub-plot reminds us about the perspective of gay men of the 80s: that they paved the way, the loss they felt, and the stigma many older people in the LGBTQIA+ community still carry with them. Clyde’s romantic interest is from the same generation, and struggles with unlearning the need to be undercover about being gay. He's also given a wonderful introduction to the world of feeling genderqueer and publicly dressing accordingly.
One of the best and most laugh-out-loud enjoyable things about this book is the extremely current dating situation. Leo has to explain to Clyde why he didn’t ask for Merrick’s number (because he needs to stalk him online first to see if he’s married and/or racist) and we obviously experience the classic, painful accidental Instagram double-tap crisis. There’s an unpacking of whether he has the rainbow flag in his bio and a panicked avoidance of actual phone calls. The Instagram ‘like’ situation escalated so amazingly and almost too realistically! I was sitting on the couch listening and felt like I was sitting on the couch right next to Leo and his best friend. Their adorable friendship also had me missing casual late-night hangouts over-analysing crushes with friends. Sidenote: Leo’s voice sounds a lot like Troye’s Sivan, incase that’s something you’re into.
Throwing Hearts is everything N.R. Walker's books always are: Adorable, warm, charming and fun, with interesting characters who are undeniably and openly into each other, which results in memorable dates and sweet, intimate affection. 10/10 recommend!
Content Warnings: There’s some casual meanness and judgement of men who use Grindr and hook-up at gay clubs. Grief and mention of Clyde’s boyfriend who died in the 80s along with most of his friends.