Reading Response #7

I reading Getting the Girl: A Guide to Private Investigation, Surveillance, and Cookery by Susan Juby.

I’ll confess, I didn’t really like the protagonist Sherman Mack, mostly because I thought he was an annoying oblivious obsessive little sexist horndog jerk. Of course, this phenomenon is also known as being a teenage boy. While I did admire his attempts to solve the mystery of the defiled girls, no matter how wrong those attempts went, I didn’t feel like he really changed or grew throughout the novel. I did like that he wasn’t the one to figure out who the defiler was. He comes off as the bumbling cop in a private eye story–good intentioned, but ineffective and always just a little late.

I liked the commentary on social hierarchy in high school–it rarely makes sense and can be easily manipulated by someone who knows how. The book shows the power of rumours and how quickly they can ruin someone’s life–girls are attacked, leave school, and attempt suicide over being bullied. This theme is particularly apropos given all the recent attention in the media about bullying in schools and teen suicides, and the It Gets Better project.

I was also amused by the Canadian references, although it was a little bit jarring when Sherman talks about going to Tim Hortons and getting “a large coffee with triple triple” (294). It’s the word “with” that threw me off–I would have phrased it a large triple-triple, or a large triple-triple coffee. I know it’s a minor point, but it does point out that slang use can be very precise, and if it isn’t right than it can add a note of falseness. It could be the editing, or just because the author is from Vancouver and not the GTA where I grew up. However, since it is Canadian slang, I wonder if a young American reader would understand what it means.

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