Swim the Fly by Don Calame
|Swim the Fly by Don Calame
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy
|Summary: Funny and sweet story of one summer in the life of three teenage friends. Mission? See a girl, any girl, naked. Avoid swimming butterfly at all costs. Much slapstick and a good heart make for a funny and uplifting read.
|Date: June 2011
|External links: Author's website
Matt and his friends, Coop and Sean, set themselves a challenge every summer. This year, with fifteenth birthdays under their belts and hormones a-go-go, their goal is to see a girl - any girl - naked. They know it won't be easy but, as Coop insists, it's step one in a very important and natural order of things. I'll let you draw your own conclusions as to what the final step could be...
... but Matt soon has much more to worry about than how best to get a glimpse of female flesh. In a moment of madness, and in an effort to impress Kelly West, the girl of his dreams, he volunteers to swim the 100 yard butterfly race at the swimming championships. As things stand, Matt can't swim 25 yards of the butterfly without at least three breaks to tread water and gasp.
As the summer goes on, the boys lurch from one slapstick crisis to another. Muscle head Tony Grillo doesn't take kindly to being spied upon from the wardrobe while making out at a party. Sean's sister catches them crossdressing - well, how else do three boys get into the girls changing rooms? And Matt finds himself at the mercy of a sadistic swimming instructor with black fingernails after sneaking into the country club.
Teen-boys-think-about-sex-all-the-time. Did you know that?! I do love books that chronicle the spectacular capacity for cock-up (pardon the pun) that boys with raging hormones have. Swim the Fly is a great example. It's full of jokes about erections and masturbation - sometimes crude, sometimes (if you're a sentimental and haggard old bag like me) more sweet than rude. Matt, Sean and Coop are basically nice boys and they just can't help it. And there's more to it than a long series of banana skins, fart jokes and penis euphemisms - Calame says pants hamster but I prefer trouser snake - honest. There's some non-sexual coming-of-age going on too.
I loved the interaction between the three friends. Coop is the loudest and the crudest. Sean is the most geeky and serious. Matt finds himself somewhere between the two. And it leads to some sparkling dialogue. The supporting cast is great, too. My favourite is Grandpa, who is just as horny as the fifteen-year-old protagonists, and who has set his cap at a newly widowed neighbour. His shamelessness knows no bounds.
Mothers and sisters will love this book for the chance to poke fun at their hapless male relatives. And the boys - even the ones who turn up their noses at the thought of reading an entire book - will love it more.
My thanks to the good people at Templar for sending the book.
My absolute favouritest of favouritest teen-boys-think-about-sex-all-the-time book is Henry Tumour by Anthony McGowan, in which poor Hector's brain tumour (Henry) is better at getting girls than he is. The teen boy's spectacular talent for cock up is just as hilarious in Submarine by Joe Dunthorne - but beware, this one is really a for adults, so it's even ruder (although I doubt this is a problem).
You can read more book reviews or buy Swim the Fly by Don Calame at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy Swim the Fly by Don Calame at Amazon.com.
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