Canada Reads 2009: Fruit by Brian Francis
Filed under: Canada Reads — Ibis at 10:00 am on Monday, February 2, 2009

The Canada Reads blurb for the book:
“It’s 1984 in Sarnia, Ontario, and 13-year-old Peter Paddington is mortified. He’s overweight, has few friends and a crazy family and, to top things off, he’s just sprouted a pair of talking nipples.

When the ridicule of the bullies in his eighth grade class at Clarkedale Elementary grows too much to bear, Peter retreats into his own vivid imagination. At night, he seeks solace in his ‘Bedtime Movies’ — glamorous narratives, where he is always popular, famous and, most of all, loved. But by day, those pesky nipples won’t shut up. When they threaten to expose Peter’s innermost secrets and desires, he is forced to come up with a new plan, one that will help him finally accept himself.

Published in 2004, Brian Francis’s coming-of-age novel captures the realities of puberty and budding sexuality in living colour. Anyone who has ever felt like an awkward teenager or grown up around an eccentric cast of characters will find something to relate to in Peter’s story. This humorous and vivid take on one teenager’s life will have you laughing one instant and wincing in recognition the next.”

Other useful links:
the Canada Reads page for Fruit

My thoughts:
Before – This book was the one I was least looking forward to. An adolescent boy whose nipples talk to him? Everything about it seems unpleasant and juvenile. I’ve heard that it’s very funny so I’m trying to approach it with an open mind, but I can’t imagine that it will be a book that I think every Canadian should read.
After – This was a very quick read. Parts were somewhat humourous and I enjoyed the flashback to the 80s aspect (like Peter I was in grade 8 in 1984 too). Sometimes, especially at the beginning, I found it rather misogynistic (all the women put down by the narrator as annoying, selfish, or in the way of what he wants). It was okay, but not fantastic. Disliked the whole preoccupation with the nipples thing & the ending was particularly dumb. Not sure if I preferred this book or The Outlander.

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