09 June 2011

Swim the Fly by Don Calame

Swim the Fly

Here are the two short reviews I heard about this book.  First: this book is a must read for all teenage boys.  They love it! Second: I seriously almost wet myself laughing.  Since I find that most realistic fiction isn’t geared toward young male readers, and since I quite enjoy laughing myself silly (all urination aside), when I saw Swim the Fly on the shelf at Central High School, I immediately grabbed it and asked to check it out (much to the chagrin of Shar, their library secretary.  Guess it was on her reading list too).

Swim the Fly has actually nothing to do with flies.  I was a little confused by the title until I realized that “the fly” is a swimming term…I know, I’m not very smart. Matt Gratton is, well, a wimp, but he is a dedicated member of his local swim team, and when he sees an opportunity to impress the über-hot Kelly, he volunteers to swim the 100m butterfly (should that be capitalized?  See, I know nothing of swimming).  The beginning of Matt’s problems is the fact that he really can’t swim the fly.  At all.  The good thing about this book is it really isn’t about swimming “the fly”, it’s about the summer adventures (and embarrassments) of a teenage boy who has two really great friends, uncontrollable hormones, and not the slightest clue about girls.

I loved this book.  It was hilarious.  Some of the situations Matt finds himself in are painfully funny – for example, drinking an extra dose of protein shake that turns out to be fiber laxative (totally not a spoiler, you kinda see it coming).  My tummy actually hurt thinking about it.  The best part is every crazy situation Matt gets himself into, I can totally imagine one or more of my former “super smart” students getting into.  It’s almost like the time I went to see SuperBad with some of my co-workers and we spent the entire movie laughing, not because it was funny (though it was) but because we kept naming students we could see trying to pull those kinds of pranks.

However, I will say that I’m not completely sold that this book is a “guy read”.  I actually think it’s more of a chick read about how guys think.  But I’m not sure – I don’t know any guys who have read it.  It won’t ever be in the collection at GMMS because it’s not middle school appropriate, so I’m not sure I’ll be able to find a guy to read it.  I thought about asking my dad, who loves to read, but I’m pretty sure it’s not his cup of tea.  He’d think it was funny, but anyone who loves Motherless Brooklyn  by Jonathan Lethem is kind of on a different level.

Regardless, I’d recommend this book to anyone looking for a light, fun summer read.  And if you happen to be a teenage boy (wow, this sentence TOTALLY started out creepy) let me know what you think!

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