Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Fly on the Wall
Fly on the Wall
I have often said “I would love to be a fly on the wall when such-and-such happens.” For Gretchen Yee, her wish came true.
Gretchen lives in New York City, attending a special school for those who are talented in art. Gretchen’s preferred art style isn’t one that anyone else appreciates. She loves comic books and comic book heroes and that’s the type of drawings she does. Her drawing teacher doesn’t like her comic book style, and doesn’t mind criticizing her work in front of the whole class. In a school full of people who pride themselves on being weird, Gretchen feels ordinary and therefore out of place. There’s a guy she has a crush on, but she doesn’t know how to even talk to him, much less do anything about her crush. To make matters worse, she finds out that her parents are getting a divorce and she’s going to have to move. Her mom gets the chance to go on a vacation in the Caribbean and her father is going to Hong Kong on business, leaving Gretchen alone in the apartment for a week. Life is just not good.
Then she makes a fateful wish. She wishes she were a fly on the wall of the boys’ locker room. The next morning she is just that. After recovering from the shock of turning into a fly, she begins to learn how the “other half” conducts itself. Like all teenage girls would be, she is fascinated by all the boy parts she sees in the locker room, but then she begins to look under the surface and sees that many of the boys have just as many problems as the girls. They too are worried about their body images and they have lots of insecurities. Some are bullies, and some are gay. All are human. Now if she can just get back to her human self and act on all she’s learned . . .
This was a fun book with lots of humorous scenes but it had lots of serious undertones. Themes of divorce, homosexuality, homophobia, bullying, and just surviving as a teenager are throughout the book. For those concerned with such matters, there is a lot of strong language. I read my personal copy of the book and in my school zone this is a more appropriate book for high school readers. I enjoyed it, however, and will have no trouble recommending it to high school students.