Saturday, November 20, 2010

Fly On the Wall by E. Lockhart

Subtitled How One Girl Saw Everything.
Published in 2006. Audiobook read by Caitlin Greer.

At the Manhattan High School for the Arts, 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 that 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.

There were parts of this young adult novel I really liked. I think E. Lockhart does a great job with the voice of her protaganist Gretchen Yee - just like she does with Ruby Oliver and Frankie Landau-Banks. I think, too, that there are some important messages in the book about personal identity, about understanding the "opposite" sex, and about homophobia.

I also enjoyed the clever use of Spider-Man and Kafka's The Metamorphosis in conjunction with the telling of Gretchen's own transformation (literal and figurative), and I adore the paperback cover that illustrates part of that connection.

However, there was way too much unnecessary profanity and way too much discussion of "gherkins" and "biscuits" for me to really love this one. Especially once Gretchen literally becomes a "fly on the wall," the plot slows way down and I felt like I was being simply subjected to seeming endless descriptions of male anatomy.

I guess, all things considered, Fly On the Wall averages out to an average book for me. (But that doesn't diminish my overall love for E. Lockhart!)



  1. I'm not sure if I'd ever wish to become a fly but hey, who knows. There might be a need to become one as long as I stay away from fly swats...

  2. Alice: Yeah. The fly swatter could be quite a problem! :)