Monday 30 June 2014

Book ~ "Fruit: A Novel About a Boy and His Nipples" (2004) Brian Francis

From Goodreads ~ Thirteen-year-old Peter Paddington is overweight, the subject of his classmates' ridicule and the victim of too many bad movie-of-the-week storylines. 

When his nipples begin speaking to him one day and inform him of their diabolical plan to expose his secret desires, Peter finds himself cornered in a world that seems to have no tolerance for difference.  Peter's only solace is "The Bedtime Movies" - perfect-world fantasies that lull him to sleep every night. 

But when the lines between Peter's fantasies and his reality begin to blur, his hilarious adventures in overeating, family dysfunction and the terrifying world of sexual awakening really begin.

Peter is 13-years-old and is overweight (205 pounds).  He is picked on at school and his only friend is his 14-year-old neighbour Daniela, the daughter of Italian immigrants, who has a potty mouth. He spends a lot of time alone in his room (with a chair jammed under the doorknob so his mother can't barge in) and on his paper route.  He is always searching for a "boy friend".

At night, he has "Bedtime Movies" in which he fantasizes about Mr. Hanlan (a man on his paper route), male teachers and fellow male students. 

Peter monitors how much weight he's gained by how far his finger can go into his belly button.  One day he realizes his nipples have grown to the size of small cherries and he tapes them down to hide them because he's embarrassed.  I will admit that I was a bit hesitant to read this book when I read that his nipples speak to him but it surprisingly worked.

This is the second book I've read by this author and I enjoyed it.  It is written in first person perspective in Peter's 13-year-old voice.  I found the language, tone and actions true to his age.  It was at times funny.  As a head's up, there is swearing (lots of F-bombs by Daniela).

I liked the diverse characters.  Peter's not into sports and would rather learn calligraphy than baseball and home ec. rather than industrial arts.  He has a list of things he wants to accomplish this year ... the first and last things are to lose weight.  He is scared of Daniela but loyal to her.  Peter's mother is going through the "change" and is very emotional, which doesn't help since she is so overprotective as it is.  His dad works shift work and just wants peace.  His sisters are always fighting ... one of them feels smug because she works at Peoples Jewellers.

This story takes place in Sarnia, Ontario, in 1984 ... it was a fun reminder about Woolco, rugby pants, Jane Fonda workout videos, Olivia Newton John records, etc.  It was definitely a different time.

You should check it out if you are looking for something different and quirky.

1 comment:

Masshole Mommy said...

This sounds really interesting.