Saturday, May 19, 2007

Anatomy of a Boyfriend, by Daria Snadowsky

Dominique's best friend Amy is always managing to hook up with guys, but Dominique herself hasn't really dated. That doesn't stop her from wondering what it would be like and how it would be to do "it" with a guy. Then she meets Wes and they hit it off and she dives head first into the relationship. In doing so, she discovers the amazing rollercoaster of first love, in great graphic detail.

At its base, this is a by-the-numbers teen romance novel, but Snadowsky has bigger plans and ambitions in this book. Like Judy Blume (with whom she has been compared) she wants to address issues of sexuality as well as love. As a result, a considerable part of the book describes in explicit and graphic detail Dominque's sexual exploration (including arousal and orgasm, masturbation, intercourse, and oral sex). Beyond that, the story parallels Forever very strongly and my conclusion was that Snadowsky was going for an updated and modernized version of Blume's classic. Now, I'm not a big fan of Judy Blume (she's preachy and her older books are quaint and dated), so it will be faint praise for me to say that I think Snadowsky has improved upon Blume's book. But, for those of you who liked Forever, this book is certainly worth a read.

I have to say that it wasn't really for me. Perhaps because of my age and sex, I felt a bit like a pervy voyeur reading this book (I actually hid the pages from my neighboring passengers on the plane lest they think I was reading porn!), but I think it also is about what you expect from a book. The explicit detail may appeal to some readers (either out of lasciviousness or curiosity) but it set a mood that caused me to distance myself from the characters and the story. Sex and its mysteries are beautiful things and I don't mind discussing them or reading about them, but at this point in my life I don't need them spelled out. This is, in the end, an interesting - and probably controversial - novel, but it lacked the material to engage me as a reader.

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