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“Anatomy of a Boyfriend” by Daria Snadowsky

07 Feb

TEEN LIBRARIAN'S REVIEW:

Have you read or at least heard about the Judy Blume classic "Forever"? To this day, it's still one of the most banned books in the US, with critics objecting to its frank portrayal of a teen sexual relationship.

If you're familiar with "Forever," then think of "Anatomy of a Boyfriend" as a more modern version of that teen classic. In "Anatomy of a Boyfriend," 17 year-old Dominique Baylor meets 18 year-old Wes Gershwin when she literally falls on her face at an athletic event held the day after Christmas in Fort Myers, Florida. Dom is a future doctor and current member of the Science Quiz team at Shorr Academy, while Wes is a track star at East Fort Myers (EFM) High. Dom's best friend, Amy, also attends EFM, and after Dom and Wes begin trading e-mails, Amy arranges an in-person meeting at a New Year's party. The first part of the book follows the very beginnings of Dom and Wes' relationship, which, frankly, is fairly predictable. You know from the get-go that these two will become a couple, so it's a bit tedious slogging through the e-mails and IMs that comprise their early communication.

Once Wes and Dom start going out, they act like regular teenagers, which is always nice to see in a teen novel. They start kissing in the back seats of cars and on couches while their respective folks are out. Things quickly progress from there, and there are many honest, fairly graphic descriptions of the couple's sexual relationship. It'll probably be reassuring for most readers that Dom and Wes are both nervous and insecure as they become more physical with each other.

For me, this is where the book sort of fell apart. There's a large jump in time from the couple's prom night to the end of the summer, when Dom and Wes head off to their individual colleges, she to Tulane and he to NYU. The reader only gets a few e-mail transcripts to cover the gap in time, and this method of plot development absolutely ruins the dramatic tension of the story. The rest of the novel, which depicts the couple gradually drifting apart, is incredibly flat and almost boring. Even worse, Dom's character becomes the worst kind of nagging, obsessive girlfriend, and she'll likely alienate readers with her behavior. As for me, by the end, I honestly couldn't have cared less about her, which is a shame.

I'm sure this book will be popular, and it's admittedly a super quick, page-turning read. The "sex ed" information is handled in a realistic manner, and, for much of the book, readers will root for Dom and Wes. It's just too bad the characters, who are both a bit one-dimensional to begin with, are treated so poorly by the author towards the end of the story. All in all, a decent enough read.

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Posted by on February 7, 2007 in Uncategorized

 

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