Review: Fly on the Wall by E. Lockhart

Review: Fly on the Wall by E. LockhartFly on the Wall: How One Girl Saw Everything by E. Lockhart
Narrator: Caitlin Greer
Published by Listening Library on March 14, 2006
Genres: Contemporary, Fantasy, Romance
Source: Purchased
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half-star

At the Manhattan School for Art and Music, where everyone is "different" and everyone is "special," Gretchen Yee feels ordinary. She's the kind of girl who sits alone at lunch, drawing pictures of Spider-Man, so she won't have to talk to anyone; who has a crush on Titus but won't do anything about it; who has no one to hang out with when her best (and only real) friend Katya is busy.

One day, Gretchen wishes that she could be a fly on the wall in the boys' locker room—just to learn more about guys. What are they really like? What do they really talk about? Are they really cretins most of the time?

Fly on the Wall is the story of how that wish comes true.

Sometimes venturing into an author’s backlist is like being Charlie let into Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory and getting to eat many tasty chocolates. Sometimes, though, you feel more like August Gloop, regretful of your life choices but unable to escape. With regards to Fly on the Wall, you can call me Gus. Fly on the Wall is a hot mess of shockingly bad young adult fiction to the degree that I cannot conceive of how anyone ever liked it enough for it to get published.

Fly on the Wall is the story of Gretchen Yee, and her crush on a boy. She’s pretty quiet, spending most of her time drawing pictures of Spider-Man; this results in struggles in art class, because her teacher refuses to recognize any artistic value or talent exhibited by this endeavor. On top of that, Gretchen’s only friend Katya has been weirdly distant lately, and Gretchen doesn’t know why. If Gretchen had naturally evolved, worked through her friendship with Katya and gotten to know Titus organically, this could have been decent. I mean, Lockhart’s Boyfriend List books were great! I had reason to expect this to be an okay read, if not a great one, but holy fuck was I ever wrong.

The basic frame at the start could have made for a pretty typical, decent YA book. EXCEPT this book is also inspired by Kafka’s The Metamorphosis. That fly on the cover? RELEVANT. Gretchen wishes to be a fly on the wall of the boy’s locker room, and lo and behold she awakens a locker room fly. This is an actual thing that happens. Gretchen goes missing for days because she is a fly trapped in the locker room.

While she’s in there, Gretchen pervs hard. That subtitle about how one girl saw everything? Everything means penises. She watches all the boys strip down, and she checks out what they’re packing. She watches them shower and pee. She gets very turned on by this. I never though I would read a book that would make me feel uncomfortable about women objectifying men (because lol how terrible that must be, guys), but Lockhart managed it. Conveniently, she overhears that a couple of boys have crushes on her, learns why her friend has been pulling away (because Gretchen would have judged her for hooking up with a boy), and gets to know her crush better (one-sidedly). About the only good thing I can say here is that Titus has two dads back before there was much lgbt rep in fiction, but holy shit is there a fuckton of offensive talk.

I’m not done, though. It gets worse. Seriously. This book is pretty edgy, right? I mean, it’s about a girl objectifying the shit out of some boys and getting all horny. Yet curious slang is used throughout the book to refer to body parts. Every reference to a butt, including Gretchen’s incredibly detailed rundown of good butts, is by the word “booty.” Penises are “gherkins.” Breasts, incredibly puzzlingly, are “biscuits.” I really have no fucking clue how Lockhart came up with that one, considering I’d only ever heard “biscuits” used to talk about a butt before; it took me about half the book to figure out what people meant when they talked about “biscuits.” The worst thing is that it’s not just Gretchen; the boys in the locker room talk about each other’s “gherkins” and girls’ “biscuits. Authors, if you’re not mature enough to even use existing slang to talk about body parts, just don’t write a book about genitals or sex, yeah?

What the fuck did I read? How can I get it out of my brain? Do not read this. It’s seriously one of the worst books I have ever read, and I’m so angry I spent money on it. Though it was amusing but oh my god my poor brain.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

 

One response to “Review: Fly on the Wall by E. Lockhart”

  1. Bekka says:

    Oh my god. This sounds amazing in the most horrible way and I’m praying my library has it.

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