Wednesday, November 16, 2016

THE NERDY AND THE DIRTY BY B.T. GOTTFRED - BOOK REVIEW

Hello everyone!

I am back with another book review. Today it is The Nerdy and the Dirty by B.T. Gottfred. Thanks so much to Raincoast Books for sending me this book for an honest review. As always, all opinions are my own.


Well, I wasn't expecting that!

This is the story of Penelope/Pen and Benedict. Pen comes from a very Catholic family and is dating a very Catholic boy, Paul. And sometimes they do some very non-Catholic things together. For Pen, this is a deeper issue. She's conflicted, is this something she should want regularly? As the synopsis states, do other girls have the urges she does? Benedict comes from a wealthy family, his father is bestselling author of a book on being perfect, something Benedict is constantly striving towards. But his is almost seventeen and wants his first girlfriend. The novel doesn't directly come out and say it, but I would suspect that Benedict has some form of high functioning autism - just based on my (very little) knowledge and his social interactions.

Before the main storyline gets going, we get a glimpse of Pen's relationship with Paul. It's one of those 'we've been together so long, we might as well be married' situations (except that they are 16), and Pen hides not only her sexual urges, but also her opinions and true feelings with Paul. I think he is up there with my least favourite characters in this book. He's verbally abusive, is on the verge of sexually assaulting Pen a few times (there's no clear part where she says no, but he pretty much forces himself on her), and at one point is physically violent with her. These are small pieces of a greater novel, but they are still there, so be weary of these triggers, and for younger readers.

I feel like I can't really say too much about Pen and Benedict's relationship, because it was super short. It is a little insta-lovey, but I was kind of expecting it to be. They are two polar opposites and the switch just flipped. Their relationship is much more sexual than I was thinking it would be, but I don't think that was a bad thing. Benedict tells Pen to be herself, no matter what, and I think that is a great message. I'm not sure if hearing it from one person makes it true, but she feels better about her desires.

I will say that there are a few things that really turned me off to this novel. There was a lot of shaming going on. Fat-shaming and slut-shaming. There is one character who was once thin, beautiful and popular, and now she is mean, bigger and semi-popular by extension. Ok, fine, whatever. But there are countless jokes made about her size and how that makes her undesirable. I'm not sure if it was just because most of the people making these comments were from a small town, and that's just the stereotypical way that they are, or if they were just that mean, but these comments made it hard to read. There was also a bit of slut-shaming, again, maybe it's just the small town, Catholic atmosphere, but words like "whore" were thrown around way too much. And often by males to justify actions - "Oh well we only did x because she's a whore." These comments really made it hard for me to get through the book.

I think the thing that bothered me the most was the repeated use of the r-word. I feel like in this day and age there has got to be a better word to use. And when someone's parent comes out and says it, I'm done. I don't remember where Riverbend is, but I definitely do not want to live there. These people are so critical and rude.

So yeah, the storyline was good, I liked that aspect, just some of the other elements and the language used didn't work for me.

Overall, I would say pick this one up at your own risk, and only if you are a mature teen and up.

My rating: ★★/5