Leigh Matthews – Don’t Bang the Barista!


Drawing on the classics of lesbian pulp fiction, Don’t Bang the Barista! is set in the hipster-dyke triangle of East Vancouver, where friends Kate and Cass discuss the politics of hooking up with a hot barista crush. Is Cass warning Kate off over concern for her favourite coffee shop hangout, or does she have ulterior motives for keeping Hanna and Kate apart? What if Hanna actually has her sights set on someone else… someone already in a seemingly monogamous and hetero relationships?

Navigating life in the queer East Van community certainly isn’t simple for Kate and her trusty canine, Jupiter, especially when Kate’s ex gets back into town looking more fabulous than ever.

Can Kate finally figure out who she wants to be with before it’s too late?

I’m baaaaaaaaaaaaack! (with a BANG!) Don’t Bang the Barista! that is….

You know what’s really unfair about being a lesbian? It’s a free-for-all when it comes to dating. Literally, EVERYONE is fair game: your girlfriend, your girlfriend’s ex-girlfriend, your ex-girlfriend’s girlfriend, your ex-girlfriend’s ex-girlfriend’s girlfriend, etc. etc. etc. Ever play Super Mario Smash Bros? That game is the perfect analogy for lesbian dating life.

When and where mass lesbians congregate (e.g bar, club, Pride, Dinah Shore, IKEA, a Tegan and Sara concert, your local Home Depot) it’s a battlefield and we’re all players with unlimited lives (and libido) as long as we’re in the game. In Don’t Bang the Barista!, Kate is Mario and everyone else… Well, is everyone else that hooks up and breaks up with everyone else.

Don’t Bang the Barista! is one of the smartest, funniest lesbian novels that I’ve had the opportunity to read and review. The execution of the narrative in this book reminds me a lot of John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces in its hilarity of the protagonist’s inner monologue. The main character is entirely relatable and there were moments in this novel where I had to step back and wonder “Am I reading this, or is this the voice in my own head?” I loved reading the journey and process that Kate goes through breaking up, making up, and moving on. There’s a reference to the game Scrabble and Kate’s… er… requirement? Prerequisite? Anyway, it made me laugh because it’s so true. Unfortunately, after a nasty break-up, I do the same damn thing. Self-preservation at its finest!

Don’t Bang the Barista! is smart, funny, cool, and edgy. Read it at your favorite coffeehouse, but don’t get carried away and end up banging the barista!

1. Scissor Sisters – I Don’t Feel Like Dancin’
2. 1975 – Girls
3. Echosmith – Cool Kids
4. Joan Jett and the Blackhearts – Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah)
5. Blur – Girls and Boys
6. Le Tigre – TKO
7. Tegan and Sara – Walking With a Ghost
8. Joan Jett and the Blackhearts – I Hate Myself For Loving You
9. xx – Heart Skipped a Beat
10. A Fine Frenzy – Now Is The Start
11. Girl in a Coma – Come On, Let’s Go

This book would be best read with a….

-2 oz of Hendrick’s Gin
-3 oz of Tonic Water
-1 tablespoon of Torani Cherry Syrup
-1 tablespoon of fresh lime juice
-1 lime wheel

Combine all the ingredients and pour into a highball glass filled with ice. Stir. Garnish with the lime wheel floating on top. Is this a hipster drink? You bet it is! Put on your best plaid shirt and let’s party!


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