Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Debbie Harry Sings in French-- Meagan Brothers

Debbie Harry Sings in French? What an awesome book title, wish I'd come up with it! ;-)

In this book, the main character, Johnny, is a recovering alcoholic... and he is still in High School. After his father dies, Johnny finds solace in bottle after bottle of booze. After he nearly overdoses on a lethal combo of drugs and alcohol, his mother sends him to rehab, and then on to live with his uncle. While in rehab, a girl give Johnny a Blondie mix tape... and Johnny becomes obsessed with Debbie Harry (lead singer of Blondie). She becomes his strength. Whenever he is tempted to take a drink of alcohol, he imagines that he is Debbie Harry-- strong, tough, hot, ass-kicking, confident, and beautiful in that hard rock-n-roll way. It's not that Johnny is in love with Debbie Harry... he wants to BE Debbie.

Johnny is adapting well to his new life with his uncle. He even falls for a girl, Maria, who encourages his Debbie preoccupation. For me, this is why the book is so good. Even though Johnny enjoys cross-dressing, his girlfriend is not threatened by this. Of course, there are times in the book where her faith wavers, but the main story this book tells is that just because a person explores gender roles, it does not mean they are gay. I really think this is a common misconception... many people assume that a man who is dressing like a woman is gay (or a woman dressing as a man). This often not the case. Cross-dressing is more about gender then it is about sexuality, and this book does an excellent job in clarifying that misconception while wrapping the "lesson" in a really compelling and engaging story.

Can you tell I really enjoyed this book? P.S. The non-book cover image is a photo of Blondie (Debbie is the hot blond of course) just so you can get a feel for the look Johnny is going for...

I would recommend this book to teens who enjoyed Julie Anne Peters' Luna or Ellen Wittlinger's Parrotfish.

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