I have a new book launching tomorrow and it might very well prove to be my most controversial title yet. (And coming from the guy that wrote HOMEBOYZ that’s saying something.) But really, I don’t think it’s all that controversial at all.
In fact, I like to think of my new book THE DOWNSIDE OF BEING UP as Judy Blume for boys.
Simply put, it’s a coming of age novel and the truth is, what could be more coming of age than going through puberty?
Let’s be honest, in the novel I am tackling a fairly taboo subject… or at least a subject that’s usually only mentioned in hushed tones as if it’s some kind of shameful little secret. However, here’s a newsflash for ya – Quick, cover your eyes! – adolescent boys get erections. There, I said it. Did the world just end? I doubt it.
See, all boys get erections. This is not a red state/blue state issue. Tall, short, brown-eyed or blue, two parents in the home or child of divorce, religious denomination, academic aptitude, physical height… none of it matters. Boys get boners and they pop up for all of us at the most inauspicious of times in our young adult lives. And when this first starts happening to us, WE FREAK OUT.
Yet, it’s just Mother Nature. There’s nothing “wrong” with us. We’re not deviants, monsters, bad people or pervs.
We’re male. This is the way God made us. And let me tell you, I really wish there was a book like this around when I was a kid if only for the simple sake of someone letting me know that I was normal. In a way, and I am entirely serious about this (remember, I was California’s Teacher of the Year) this text is bibliotherapy and young adolescent males are going to find more than just penis humor in this novel; they are going to find identification.
My book is both funny and tragic at the same time but the thing is, THIS IS NOT A BOOK ABOUT SEX. In fact, there is no sex in the book at all. This is a tale of a boy going through a very significant and very disconcerting right of passage on the journey to adulthood and if there is any sort of moral to the story it’s that “You can’t stop Mother Nature.”