Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Moments ago, the CBC announced the nominees for this year's Canada Reads contest, and one of those books is Fruit, by Brian Francis! (I'm time traveling right now, by the way... I'm writing this in the past to you readers in the future, and setting the post to reveal itself after the CBC has unveiled the books.)
I was the acquisitions and developing editor on this book, and it's still one of my favourite books of all time. Brian was a dream to work with, and despite having to read the book 7 or 8 times, I laughed out loud every time I did. I adore this book, and I'm thrilled that this has happened for Brian.
How Canada Reads works is this: five people are chosen, and they nominate one book each. The books are unveiled to the general public on November 25 (today) and then Canadians have a little over three months to read the books. Then, the week of March 6, the five people who are championing the books will defend their books in daily debates, with one book being eliminated every day until a winner is chosen.
You can go to the Canada Reads blog daily and see podcasts, blogs, and hear audio of the authors reading from their books, and there's a chance to vote for your favourite. But the main thing is getting Canada to read these books. These are five fantastic books that have been chosen, but if you want to read a book that will not let you down, Fruit is it.
The book is about Peter Paddington, a 13-year-old overweight boy who is being let down by his body, and one day he swears his nipples, which have popped out like overripe cherries, are talking to him. They become his sense of doubt, whispering that the other kids will find out his secret, that he's hiding this "fruit" beneath his clothes that they're going to discover. Meanwhile, he tries to be a good kid, hanging out with his hilarious friend Daniela, who swears like a trucker, and doing his paper route while having naughty fantasies about one of his customers coming to the door wearing nothing but a red Speedo.
The inner life of Peter Paddington is at once hilarious, sad, and sweet, and I cannot recommend it enough. If you grew up in the 70s and 80s, the nostalgia will take you back to those times (Peter sits behind a girl who carves Adrian Zmed's name all over her binder). If you ever thought your body was less-than-perfect or other kids were making fun of you, you will be right there with Peter as he worries about what the others are thinking of him. If you've ever thought your family was destined for the loony bin, you'll sympathize with Peter dealing with his two older sisters, his worrying, nervous mother, his mostly absent father and his friendly Uncle Bernard.
So come on, Canada, it's time to read!! And what better way to start than with the best book of the bunch. (No bias here.) You can get the book here. Enjoy!!
UPDATE: Here is an article about Canada Reads, highlighting Fruit!!
Canada Reads Goes Queer