I happened to be on a tram on my morning ride to work when David's mother rip-opens the parcel her daughter has sent as a gift from Australia and pulls out of it a vibrating pink penis with a gift-tag around it. David stares open-mouthed at the sight of it, his boyfriend Jamie drops the remains of the biscuit he is eating in his lap, David's dad is laughing. David's mother looks from her husband to penis and from penis to her husband and asks, confused, “What . . . What is it?!” This propels David's dad into an even louder laughter, which is followed by a sudden blare of rap music ringtone from his phone he still doesn't know how to turn off.
At this point David is really annoyed at his futile attempts and all distraction. It is all too much for him so he yells: “I’m gay and I’m going out with Jamie and I love hiiiiiiiiim!” This scene is an ultimate climax of a hilariously funny novella A Christmas Outing by Jonathan Hill.
It is Christmas market time and 19-year-old David is going to visit it with his parents. This time, though, his boyfriend Jamie is coming along. David has something very important to announce to his parents tonight and Jamie is there to support him. Coming out to his parents is too complicated and not easy at all and Jamie is going to be there to be by his side and help him in any way he can.
A Christmas Outing is teeming with funny scenes and brilliant and comic dialogues of one dysfunctional family which is trying to survive Christmas time. A dominating mother and a submissive father who keep arguing about every little thing (sounds familiar, anybody?!), David's Psycho Sister who fled as far away as possible from her family and who sends sex stuff as gifts to her parents – her mom especially, and David who is the whole evening laboriously plotting a plan to admit to his parents that he is different, that he has a boyfriend, so he can be accepted and be himself more than he ever was.
Jonathan Hill is a master of building a suspense and expectation around David's coming out. He makes us smile, giggle, snort and laugh from one situation to another throughout this whole heartwarming and honest comedy short story that will make everybody feel good despite the serious issue of coming out which it covers in order for everyone who is and feel different to become recognized and labeled within the set and acknowledged categories of our society. His characters are very functional, realistic and alive, and we have certainly met their real-life versions at some point in our lives.
After Not Just a Boy, A Christmas Outing is another smashing success by Jonathan Hill I had luck and pleasure of reading. My pleasure would be even greater if I didn't have to suppress funny sounds that were threatening to burst out of me in a hysterical laughter in a tram full of people when David from the screen of my smartphone mused: My sister is on the other side of the world, in a different time zone and season and still she manages to piss on the bonfire I haven’t yet lit.
Wonderful, simply wonderful!! Five grins as big and shiny as five stars!
p.s. Jonathan, maybe I should come out and admit that I fell in love with your writing?! (Here comes another big grin which you can see only with your mind's eye!)