Tuesday, July 1, 2014 |
Thirteen-year-old Peter Paddington is overweight, the target of his classmates' ridicule and the victim of too many bad movie-of-the-week storylines. When his nipples begin speaking to him one day and inform him of their diabolical plan to expose his secret desires, Peter finds himself cornered in a world that seems to have no tolerance for difference. Brian Francis's debut novel Fruit is a charming, quirky coming-of-age tale.
Fruit was a 2009 Canada Reads finalist, when it was defended by Jen Sookfong Lee.
"It's October now and cool enough to wear my jacket. But I can't wear my jacket indoors or else I'll look suspicious. The Scotch tape doesn't work anymore. I tape my nipples down in the morning and by recess, the tape would be peeling off. So after school last week, I went to the Shop 'N' Bag and bought a big roll of masking tape.
'It's for a school project,' I told Mr. Bernard, even though he didn't ask me.
Now, I wrap the tape around my chest three times every day before I go to school. It holds much better than the Scotch tape, but it's hard to breathe, and when I pull the masking tape off at night, it hurts.
My nipples are sticky and sore and now look like maraschino cherries. In some ways, I feel bad that I'm not taking better care of them. I keep taping them down when all they want to do is grow. It's not their fault. They're angry at me.
'Maybe if you were normal, we'd be normal, too,' they say. 'Did you ever stop to think about that?'
'You're cruel!' I tell them. 'I'm perfectly normal.'
'Who are you kidding? You can't even go out and find a boy friend.'"
Excerpt from Fruit by Brian Francis © 2004 by ECW Press. Used with permission from the publisher.