Doing It: In YA Lit

17 Oct

hmmm…I take back what I said about having the reading interests of a 13 year old boy: I’ve just finished reading Doing It by Melvin Burgess…yeah, if this is anything to go by, I DEFINITELY DO NOT  have the same interests as a 13-year old boy…make that ANY teenage boy.


But I certainly can see how this book would be appealing: it seems a pretty honest portrayal of the minefield of teenage sexuality: full of surprises and dangerous to navigate. Do you run straight through and damn the consequences, or do you try a more stealthy approach? Either way, it’s a bit of a dodgy proposition, and you’ve no idea how things are going to turn out. Embarrassing (as in so embarrassing you’d rather die!) questions about changing bodies–poor Jonathon and his trip to the doctor had me cringing and giggling at the same time.

I remembered it being mentioned in class that there had been some issues about the cover: a “sanitizing” of it, for North American audiences…? I can’t quite remember. But I do know that the cover of the book I had really didn’t fit the story and I think this was the reason I had the boys pegged at far younger ages than they really were (which would have made the whole Ben & his teacher thing that much worse–ick. Really. I don’t want to go there.) Of course, I eventually caught on age wise, but it made me curious about the covers.

So, this is the cover I had on my copy:

And this is what I’m assuming is the original cover. Or at least a different one that is a bit more in keeping with the tone of the book, I think.

A little bit different, no? I think it was the mary-janes in the first picture that threw me off…

The girls in the book aren’t particularly well-treated…and I’m sure this ilicited much discussion. I’m not really sure what to do with that; I mean I know that  story is from the male perspective, and as an adult I can look at it and go, silly boys…and sillier girls for putting up with them. But, I’m looking at things from a whole different perspective. Hindsight and 20/20 and all that…So, really, I’m not sure how teen girls would take to this. I’d be really interested to know.

(Oh. And I have to add that I learned some new vocabulary. Despite the fact that, well, I guess I’m a bit of an anglophile, I did not know that “fanny” was a euphemism for something other than one’s butt. Let me tell ya’, it caused a bit of confusion on my part. Then the penny dropped…well, that and I looked it up on the urban dictionary.)

As for Forever, by Ms. Judy Blume, well, it’s probably been forever since I’ve read it. But what struck me was that it was sooo 70’s. I mean I know it was published in 1975, so let’s assume I read it about 10 years later, that would make me 15 or so, but I have no recollection of that. Maybe I wouldn’t have been aware of it: you know, the hip family, rug hooking together, fondues for New Year’s…wow.

But the relationship part. I thought it rang pretty true–particularly when Katherine and Michael are away from each other over the summer and how their oh-so-intense relationship just unravels. Like that. Undone.

When I flip through the book: a lot of dialogue. I’d say about 2/3 of everyone double-page spread would be dialogue. Which is interesting because my first reaction was that Doing It had a lot of dialogue but when I look back at it, it is nowhere as dialogue heavy as Forever. Interesting.

I’m guessing this is a new-ish cover for Forever; I’m glad they kept the bell-bottom jeans…

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Posted by on October 17, 2011 in YA stuff


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