Saturday, January 17, 2009

Fruit, A Delicious Tale

I flew through Fruit: A Novel About a Boy and His Nipples by Brian Francis finishing it just this morning. This is now my 10th read for the 2nd Canadian Book Challenge Eh! and my second Canada Reads 2009 read. I absolutely loved this book, so much so that I was sad as I was nearing the end as I really wanted to read more about Peter Paddington and his life as he approached the end of grade 8 and anticipated in dread the approach of highschool. Francis completely endears this wonderful character to his reading audience. You not only totally believe this story, but at times I know I felt that I was Peter myself experiencing his trials. We all have a bit of Peter in us. Perhaps we are not overweight or experiencing feelings of being attracted to the same sex (and what is hiding in their red parachute pants) but I know I felt for him as he was ridiculed, bullied and feeling like an outsider. Kids can be mean as we know and it is very difficult when you feel like you don't fit in. Thankfully we are able as adults to look back and laugh at what we went through and our feelings at the time and realize that the people who we thought were the cool ones or who bullied or shoved us asside weren't really worth our time anyway. While heartbreaking, many of situations Peter is faced with, including his ongoing dialogue with his swelled nipples is done with humour.
What was interesting to me is that I saw myself in this story as it takes place in the same time period as I was at Peter's age - mid 80's. At one point in the book I actually flipped to the author's bio to see if I knew him or if he grew up in Hamilton, because I could have sworn I was a part of this same cast of charcters ... perhaps I was one of the other "outsiders" in the book that Peter refers to. In high school I was part of what I now refer to as the "goody goody gang" as Francis refers to in this fantastic book. As with most writing, I expect that some of the authors own experiences were reflected in some way in the various characters in the book, which makes it even more real.
This book was a complete departure in style from my previous read which makes it very difficult to figure out which of these two Canada Reads selections I feel should be the big winner. I loved them both for very different reasons. I am now moving on to The Book of Negros by Lawrence Hill who is from Burlington, Ontario.

1 comment:

  1. I feel like I'm alone on an island with my distaste for Fruit, as most people seem to have enjoyed it. I personally never connected with Peter Paddington, and if it wasn't for characters like that adopted rocker kid and the potty-mouthed Italian girl, I fear I would have really struggled to get through it. My review for it is here if you're interested.

    ; )