What's Going On Here?

There are SO MANY wonderful book review blogs out there and I can't compete with them, that is for sure. So this is not a book review blog. This is just a way for me to organize what I have read so that I can be better at matching the right book to the right person. The blog title comes from the brilliant mind of the most talented woman who ever lived, Ms. Judy Garland. The full quote is, "Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of someone else." That is what I hope to do here and in ever aspect of my life.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

A Little Bit of This, a Little Bit of That

Add one part In and Out.
Mix a dash of King and King.
And just a tiny touch of Almost Perfect.
Sprinkle with the "It's Always the Mother's Fault" Syndrome. 
Drench the whole thing in Roald Dahl.
Use What it Feels Like for a Girl as your soundtrack.
And you have, kind of, The Boy in the Dress.
There is something just a bit odd about The Boy in the Dress. It seems to contradict itself quite a bit.
It's by David Walliams who I guess is some British funny guy.  We all know how I feel about Briticisms, but that's not it.  I hardly noticed the off-putting Briticisms at all, really.  Which, I suppose, is to say, there weren't any. 
The Boy is the story of Dennis, a tween who loves fashion and dressing up in women's clothing.  He is a transvestite.  So in that way it is a neat story because it is another book, like Debbie Harry that makes the point that transvestism is not the same as homosexuality.  Walliams makes this statement time and time again as he talks about how much Dennis is attracted to Lisa, an older girl in his school.  With Lisa, who also loves fashion and even designs her own clothes, Dennis explores his love for dressing up like a girl.
It's a little over the top, but I can forgive that. 
What I can't forgive is that Walliams seems to explain Dennis's transvestism by blaming the mother.  Dennis's mom ran away and left Dennis with his older brother John and their father, a still-hurting, manly truck driver.  Dennis stares at a picture of his runaway mom, remarking on her dress and so forth and we get the feeling, more than once, that Walliams is trying to say that somehow Dennis loves women's clothing because he misses his mom.  It just didn't sit well with me. It reminded me of the over-the-top domineering mother in King and King.  She is so nasty and stereotypical that you can't help but think that the author is trying to say that there exists some connection between a domineering mother and homosexuality. 
The soccer game near the end of the book is right out of the movie In and Out and just as believable. 
What could have been a Debbie Harry Sings in French for the younger set ends up being just a bit...off...I would love it if more people I know would read this and give me their take on it, maybe I just being harsh.  It is also clear that Walliams is heavily influenced by Dahl's humor, and I am not just saying that because Quentin Blake, who illustrated The Boy also illustrated many of Dahl's books.  It's the writing that copies Dahl's style as well.


  1. David is a transvestite himself. It is partly based on his own feelings which has nothing to do with his mum.

  2. Thanks for your comment! Yes, I had heard that about the author. I don't know...maybe I need to read it again. I am totally open to that, because I think that the message is really important.