Becoming Ted – Matt Cain | Book Review | #BecomingTed @MattCainWriter @headlinepg @joe_thomas25

A charming, joyful and surprising story about love, friendship and learning to be true to yourself, Becoming Ted will steal your heart.

Ted Ainsworth has always worked at his family’s ice-cream business in the quiet Lancashire town of St Luke’s-on-Sea.

But the truth is, he’s never wanted to work for the family firm – he doesn’t even like ice-cream, though he’s never told his parents that. When Ted’s husband suddenly leaves him, the bottom falls out of his world.

But what if this could be an opportunity to put what he wants first? This could be the chance to finally follow his secret dream: something Ted has never told anyone …


Ted is happily married to Giles (or so he thinks) but when his heart is broken, he must find a way to live his own life and follow his own dreams, dreams which have been put aside by feelings of duty and of not feeling good enough.

Ted works for the family business, making ice cream. Unfortunately he doesn’t even like ice cream – he never has although he has never voiced this to his family (whose motto is ‘Family First’) – guilt and duty keeping him silent. He would love to follow a different path in life but how to tell his parents when they are expecting him to take over from them, having invested so much of their life into it and are struggling with the business financially.

Oskar (‘with a k’) is Polish, working as a builder but with dreams of being an interior designer – an area where he is clearly talented. He is rather a complex character, struggling with his sexuality against the background of family history and the social politics of his native country which have caused so much heartache. He keeps himself to himself, his only happiness for the moment being his bicycle rides together with his determination to learn a new English word every day.

Both Ted and Oskar are constrained – Ted by family duty and Oskar by guilt and uncertainty. If they are each to find happiness, they must both make changes to their lives and put themselves first.

I took both Ted and Oskar to my heart. Both are fabulous characters, quite different in temperament with Ted trying to find the courage to make changes to follow his life’s dream and also finding his self worth after being made to feel a support act in an apparently rather toxic relationship. Supporting characters were just wonderful, including nonagenarian Stanley, feeling ostracised in his care home but opening up to Ted and reminiscing about his younger life when being gay was illegal and the sacrifices that were made. Ted’s best friend Denise with her support and encouragement. There is drama elsewhere too which all adds to Ted feeling conflicted and angry.

Becoming Ted is an uplifting story, written with warmth and humour, with characters and some difficult backstories where you just hope they will overcome obstacles and find the happiness and contentment they deserve. . I loved it and although I haven’t yet read Matt Cain’s previous book, The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle, this is on my reading list.

Does Ted get to live his best life? You will have to read the book and find out. Definitely recommended.

My thanks to Joe Thomas of Headline for the tour invite and copy to review.

Matt Cain is an author, a leading commentator on LGBT+ issues, and a former journalist. He is currently a presenter for Virgin Radio Pride UK, was Channel 4’s first Culture Editor, Editor-In-Chief of Attitude magazine, and has judged the Costa Prize, the Polari Prize and the South Bank Sky Arts Awards. He won Diversity in Media’s Journalist Of the Year award in 2017 and is an ambassador for Manchester Pride and the Albert Kennedy Trust, plus a patron of LGBT+ History Month. Born in Bury and brought up in Bolton, he now lives in London.

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