Henry Goldblatt
August 20, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Fruit

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Brian Francis
genre
Fiction

We gave it a B+

Peter Paddington is a 13-year-old, fat, gay cross-dresser with two selfish, annoying older sisters and an overbearing mother. But his biggest problem is that his nipples keep threatening, cajoling, and teasing him?out loud (or so he thinks). Brian Francis? absurd, charming debut superbly portrays Peter?s inner life: his delusions, dalliances with religion, fantasies about a hairy-armed gym teacher, and fascination with Brooke Shields (hey, it?s 1984 after all). Once the action leaves Peter?s chest, the supporting characters are a bit broad and unformed. Mom starts the book as a menopausal nut who won?t make a left turn, and then morphs into a weepy guilt-tripper; Pop is practically MIA. Just follow Peter?s lead and ignore them: Fruit is sweet, tart, and forbidden in all the right places.

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