Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Hello, Groin

Hello, Groin by Beth Goobie

Finally got my hands on it.

YA/Canadian/Realistic Fiction

Dylan is sixteen. She has a boyfriend who is a super jock, she hangs out with the popular kids, she does well in school, she gets along with her parents and siblings - she seems to have everything going for her. But something is wrong. She loves her boyfriend Cam, but she can't get excited by him. And then there is her best friend Joc. Ever since they were in grade seven, and compared each other's body parts, Dylan has suspected that it just might be Joc who turns her on.

The story is narrated from Dylan's point of view, and it is incredibly intimate. We get right inside Dylan's head as she struggles to be "normal", and as she struggles to come to terms with her own identity and her own sexuality. We are with her as she, at first rejects her own impulses completely, and later begins to explore them. She begins to allow herself to daydream about girls, to masturbate about girls, even to kiss a girl. But she is still paranoid about not fitting in, and about hurting Cam, and about being accepted. It takes a lot, and a drastic situation, to push Dylan into self-acceptance and self-awareness.

This exploration is all tied together by a library display that Dylan creates. Dylan, on top of being borderline popular is also a school library volunteer. And she creates a library display in which the silhouettes of a male and a female are covered with various books. The arm has a book, the mouth has a book, the forehead has a book, etc. But, the books Dylan chooses for the Groin of both characters cause controversy, and are censored. Dylan's expressive act in choosing the books she places over the groins, and the act of censorship in removing them, are pivotal. (I would love to have a similar display at my library - if only we had a teen section).

This was, I thought, one of the most true books I've read in a long time. Everything about what this character was feeling felt real and authentic. The supporting cast is all well drawn. I think it is fantastic. I think it will mean a lot to the kids who read it. I think it has staying power.


ru said...

awesome! i read the book jacket on sunday evening and was intrigued, so it is nice to know it is as good as i thought it might be. and, by the way, m would like to borrow your copy if she can, since it is only on order at the library.

MadJenny said...

My copy is actually only a loaner too. I purloined it from the NBS for the sake of review for my committee thing. But, I'll find out when I have to give it back, and if there is a lot of time, you can take it for a bit.

Maggie said...

Ever since I first read 'Mission Impossible', Beth Goobie has been one of my all-time favourite Canadian writers. Can't wait to read her latest! :D