Just By Looking at Him by Ryan O’Connell was one of my favorite reads this year, a dark and funny contemporary novel about a gay TV writer with cerebral palsy who outwardly looks to have everything but can’t seem to stop himself from messing it up (which is, naturally, largely driven by living in an impossibly ableist world that strikes him with a thousand papercuts at any given moment). If you need an excuse to purchase another book this month, today happens to be World Cerebral Palsy Day, so what better time?
Elliott appears to be living the dream as a successful TV writer with a doting boyfriend. But behind his Instagram filter of a life, he’s grappling with an intensifying alcohol addiction, he can’t seem to stop cheating on his boyfriend with various sex workers, and his cerebral palsy is making him feel like gay Shrek.
After falling down a rabbit hole of sex, drinking, and Hollywood backstabbing, Elliott decides to limp his way towards redemption. But facing your demons is easier said than done.