Lockhart, E. 2006. Fly On the Wall. Random House. 182 pages.
It seems to be hit and miss with E. Lockhart. I'll clarify. For me. I either really really love her books. Or else not so much. I've loved two of her books. And the few others that I've read have left me disappointed or disgruntled or sometimes just whelmed. I will say this. The books that left me a little cold were the ones that others seemed to love the most. The ones I didn't gush over were the ones that were getting all the love from others. So chances are, you'll like them even if I didn't. So if you haven't read her before, don't be frightened away on my account.
I think I might have liked the book more if my copy had had that new cover. I think that is one of the best covers I've ever seen...in this respect...it perfectly matches the book's content. Our heroine is into drawing comic book super heroes. Specifically, she's into drawing Spider Man. (Never, ever will you catch her drawing Super Man.) Our heroine's name, by the way, is Gretchen Yee. And she is a bit of a loner. She has a friend here and there. But most of the time, she's on her own. On her own and drawing. She attends the Manhattan High School for the Arts. And with everyone trying so hard--perhaps too hard--to be different, Gretchen feels ever-ordinary.
This is in one way at least, a very WEIRD book. I mean how many books about teens turning into bugs have you read? Yet, that is just the fate that awaits Gretchen. She wakes up one day to discover that she is a fly. But not just any fly, no she's a fly in the boy's locker room. She can see and hear everything that goes on. She goes from being a complete innocent to quite the lusty voyeur. And there are chapters and chapters and chapters describing what she sees and hears in great detail. For a while, she looks at the guys and comes to objectify them. It's only towards the latter part of the week of her life as a fly that she begins to see them as human--vulnerable with strengths and weaknesses. The mystery of what makes guys so different having begun to fade just a bit.
Once she's learned a few lessons, she awakens as herself ready to make a few changes in her life. In a way, the book is about one girl's transformation--no, not that transformation--but the realization that she doesn't know it all, that she can be wrong about her quick judgments of people, that she should be more open to accepting people as they are, for who they are. For example, early on we learn that her parents are getting divorced. She's quick to judge and comes to some harsh and hasty conclusions about who's to blame. But by the end of the novel, she's beginning to see that her parents are human.
© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews
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