Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 182 pages
Publisher: Listening Library (Audiobook) Unabridged Edition March 14, 2006, Delacorte Books for Young Readers (November 13, 2007)
Buy the Book: Audiobook, Paperback
At the Manhattan School for Art and Music, where everyone is “different” and everyone is “special,” Gretchen Yee feels ordinary. She’s the kind of girl who sits alone at lunch, drawing pictures of Spider-Man, so she won’t have to talk to anyone; who has a crush on Titus but won’t do anything about it; who has no one to hang out with when her best (and only real) friend Katya is busy.
One day, Gretchen wishes that she could be a fly on the wall in the boys’ locker room–just to learn more about guys. What are they really like? What do they really talk about? Are they really cretins most of the time?
Fly on the Wall is the story of how that wish comes true.
I listened to this on audiobook. The reader was fantastic. I thought she was very articulate, while at the same time actually sounding like a teenage girl. I totally bought that she WAS Gretchen Yee, and not just reading about her. She's probably the best female (teen) reader I've heard.
As far as the book goes....hmmm.....I'm of two minds. I had NO idea what this book was about when I picked it up. I didn't even read the description. All I knew is that I loved Lockhart's Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, and wanted to see what else she had out there. Fly on the Wall was interesting, funny, and a little quirky. Gretchen is a very likable, though somewhat whiny, character who I wanted things to work out for. As in Disreputable History, I could tell that the author is very witty and intelligent, just by the dialog of the characters.
However, I can't say that I particularly liked the subject of the book. The beginning starts out really sweet. Gretchen is having boy trouble. She just can't understand them, and wishes she could figure them out. Then she somehow, for some reason, turns into a fly stuck in the boys' locker room at school. There she proceeds to tell every last gory detail about the male anatomy. Every. Last. Detail. Over and over again. And while her mouth, and the mouths of the other teens in the locker room are quite foul, for some reason all the boy and girl "parts" are described with words like "gurkens" and "biscuits" and "booties". It was kind of weird, and I just felt like a creeper. And what really bothered me about it, is that if this were a "guy fly" on the wall of the girls bathroom, describing girls and objectifying them the way Gretchen did, we would be having a Peeping Tom fit. I feel like women have been fighting to be respected for such a long time, and that the way some try to gain power, is by turning it around on guys. "If you're going to objectify us, we'll objectify you right back!" Like the way to solve the problem of men behaving like sexist pigs, is for women to behave that way too. I just don't get that. Of course, I'm sure some would say it's all in good fun, and I'm reading too much into it, but I just don't want my daughter thinking that the way to gain power is to make other people less.
There were good messages in this book too; being an individual, standing up for others, realizing that everyone has self-esteem issues etc. And, honestly the writing is fantastic and witty and upbeat. However, if you're an adult, like me, you'll probably just feel weird hearing about teenage boys in all their glory. :(
It's a draw
- Sexual Content: Heavy with Extreme Dialog
- Profanity: Very Heavy
- Violence: Heavy bullying
- Other Notables: Smoking