After two boy books grounded in brutal realism (one about caring for a mentally ill parent, the other about accidentally killing a sibling), Swim the Fly was a welcome change, a comedy in the spirit of The Hangover (if the gentleman of that movie were teen boys on a swim team). Though I enjoyed the improbable escapades of the main character and his friends, the underlying messages of the book left me cold. Maybe I'm just a humorless feminist, but the boys of the book spend a good portion of the plot trying to see a girl naked (mostly in between masturbation jokes) and never does anyone point out to them that viewing women as bodies rather than people may not be the greatest idea. The girls let in on this plot LAUGH. Ha, ha! Worse, the boys actually take a picture of girl in an, er, uncompromising position, and POST IT TO FACEBOOK. The consequences? None. As this is a textbook case of online bullying, I would have appreciated some nod to the fact that this incident was likely devastating to the girl in question. Alas, no. Not important. Also disappointing was the end, in which one of the boys makes a less than ethical ploy in the final swim meet...again with no consequences. Ultimately, this book - while a fun, light read - glorifies cheating, sexual harassment, and objectifying women, while completely minimizing any negative consequences that might arise from such activities. A shame.

whyschild's rating:
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