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Anatomy of a Boyfriend by Daria Snadowsky
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Anatomy of a Boyfriend

by Daria Snadowsky

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I hadn't really heard much about this book before I read it, so I definitely didn't have any preconceived notions about what it would be like. I didn't even read the reviews by others on here to see how they felt about the book, so there was no bias. And, when I started the book, the first fifty or so pages seemed okay-ish. It was certainly better than two stars at page 50 than it was at the end.

For a work of realistic fiction, it was very unreal. The characters didn't act or talk like teenagers. Even awkward teenagers don't act like this. Some of the scenes almost came off as clinical and robotic in nature. Actually, a lot of them don't seem like they would fit in any story for children, teens, or adults. They're just very boring and weird.

For a romance, it had a lack of romance. Wes and Dom love each other, but there's no rhyme or reason to why. I know that you could argue that that's true for all romances and for love in general, but this book is especially bad at telling the story of why this guy is even her boyfriend or her first love.

It has a very sex-negative vibe. Amy is almost always degraded for being open to different types of sexual activities. The relationship between Dom and Wes portrays sex as being something that is always painful and awkward for girls, where guys will have orgasms and girls will always have to fake it. I know a lot of women do have that sort of experience, but we don't really need to teach young women that it has to be like this. Sex is something where if you expect it to be painful and bloody and awkward, then you are more likely to have a painful experience. I'm not saying that the book needs to be smutty or anything like that, but give girls some hope that they aren't going to be injured in sex acts. It's also really disturbing that any time that Dom is looking forward to or thinking about sex that something bad happens to her or to Wes. That is another sex-negative vibe to have.

As for other things that really bugged me: Playing up the trope of a redheaded female character as sex-obsessed was really annoying. That may seem like a little thing, but since it's an actual recognized trope for works of fiction (and, worse, a stereotype of redheads in the real world), it really isn't all that little. There was also a bit of fat-shaming. You have a character (Dom) starting her first year of college, so there's the mentioning of the freshman fifteen, which might be okay. What isn't okay is that her mother starts telling her that she should order certain foods so that she can me more like her old self. When the character asks if it's about her weight going up, she finds out that it is. When she turns to her father for support he says (and does) the following:

He emerges from behind his menu. "I agree with your mom. Guys can be a little overweight," he says, pinching his gut with his hand, "but girls can't."

This is for her gaining enough weight so that her clothes just snug on her. In other words, she might have gone up one size and her parents are giving her a hard time. She's also just been injured when she was exercising. When it continues and she goes to leave the table her father does the following:

"Dom, you're blowing this way out of proportion," Dad reprimands. "We're staying put, and let's have a nice dinner, for Christ's sake."

She's basically been told that she isn't allowed to be offended by their comments. That's just wrong. If parents act like this, it is totally fine to get upset with them. This behavior is reprehensible. That she's eventually treated like she overreacted after their comments have (naturally) hurt her feelings is so disgusting. And she ends up feeling both ashamed of her body and of her feelings being hurt. That's not okay. And the way it is portrayed is not okay either.

And there's the somewhat minor character Calvin. He might become a friend or a future boyfriend for her. Who knows? But the way that he acted when they first met was a little on the creepy side. This is another thing that probably would be best left out of books meant for the young adult age group. This might teach young people to allow this sort of behavior in their interpersonal relationships, which is a bit twisted and potentially dangerous.

It isn't all bad, but the good parts of the book just aren't enough to overcome the bad parts. The plot is really flat. The development of characters is flat. There are some insightful paragraphs, but they are truly few and far between. And there's a quirkiness to certain parts that I enjoyed, but by the end of the book, they had disappeared. The humor, the fun, and everything good about the book was gone before the book ended. That's not good, so this book is getting two stars because it was not executed very well. ( )
  janersm | Oct 30, 2014 |
Anatomy of a Boyfriend is about Dom, who never really allowed herself to fall victim to love—that is, until she meets Wes at a football game. Immediately things change as they begin e-mailing each other and start up a little relationship. Which causes Dom to grow increasingly curious about trying something else with the handsome stud—sex. What follows is the journey of a girl and a guy experiencing many “firsts” together and seeing where it will take them when the time comes to leave for college.

This was a very cute read, that definitely packed a pretty powerful punch in some parts—for me, mostly with the sex scenes. First love, first kiss, first , first time having sex—It’s a book of firsts for the main character. I must say that since this novel was told through the POV of Dom, I would have loved to have felt a little more alongside her. Maybe then, I would have felt why Wes was so special and why she felt the need to borderline obsess over him. (Which, is sometimes the case with many high school crushes. We’ve all had those feelings at one time or another, so in a way, I did end up understanding Dom about a little more than midway through the novel.) I really wanted to be able to understand her feelings and exactly what drew her to him and only him. At the beginning, I had a difficult time accepting she was 17 with the way she was acting. It was a little too middle-school-ish, rather than senior in high-school-ish.

I must say the author did a great job writing a very realistic curious and head-over-heels love-almost-instantly teen relationship. Let’s face it, in high school, we all had that crush. The one we thought of constantly, and sometimes even fantasized about. (Don't lie, you know that was SO you too.) The same person you’d hope would one day talk to you or just say your name, and then possibly—if your wishes/dreams came true—would sweep you off your feet. Or have them let you sweep them off their feet. ;D

Overall, this makes for a good realistic novel, with some pretty entertaining scenes here and there, that I’m sure will resonate better with other readers. You definitely have to be in the mood for a realistic novel. (No riding off into the sunset here.) I’m sure there are tons of other readers who love this book a little more than I did. I’m sure Daria Snadowsky has great projects planned for the future, and I can’t wait to see what they are! ( )
  RJGonzales | May 11, 2013 |
This book wasn't terrible, because in a lot of ways it does portray real first loves, but it was so incredibly cliché at points that it was almost painful to plow through.

I have to give the author props where props are due: there were moments in this book that I sympathized with to the point of physical reaction, and that’s tough to pull off – kudos – but I’m not sure if that should be credited to the author’s skill of writing or the simple awfulness of the subject matter she delves into. That being said, I’m not sure if it was the awkwardness of the characters/plot or the awkwardness of those real life situations the book strove to portray, but it was horrific.

I really wanted to like this book for its glimmers of perfection, but all in all I just dreaded picking it back up. ( )
  frozenplums | May 1, 2013 |
I debated what to label Anatomy of a Boyfriend. I'm sure most people would not stick it under the New Adult heading, because of the rather graphic nature of the sex involved and the fact that Dom is in college for roughly the last third of it. Honestly, though, it reads like a young adult novel to me, and it's not like teens wouldn't be having some or all of these experiences. However, I'm mentioning the detailed descriptions of sex up front, so that readers who are not comfortable with that are full informed. Personally, I really like Snadowsky's take on teenage sexual relationships and first love.

Dominique, more commonly known as Dom, has always been the studious type to her best friend Amy's boy crazy type. Dom doesn't really understand why Amy is willing to hook up with random guys, but she's also not particularly judgmental about it either. Dom and Amy really care about one another and maintain a strong friendship throughout, even if they're not the focal point of the story.

Dom's never really even been strongly interested in someone until she meets Wes. Something about him sets her teenage hormones ablaze, and they quickly strike up a friendship, emailing and IMing. Much to her frustration, though, the relationship doesn't go anywhere. She spends a lot of time talking with Amy on the phone, unpacking the latest messages for deeper meaning.This Snadowsky got just right, as I know I've been there and so have all of my female friends.

Once they do strike up a romantic relationship, things accelerate swiftly physically. Both virgins, they move through the bases at a fairly fast clip. What I really love about Snadowsky's take on this is that she doesn't spare them any awkwardness or pain. Unlike most fiction, there's not a simultaneous orgasm to be found within these pages; the sex is not romanticized. The depiction of sex is very realistic and descriptive about most basic sexual behaviors, and while it's perhaps more detailed than some parents might want their teens reading, I think it's much more honest and likely to make a teen think things through than the fade to black scenes that suggest perfection. Plus, Dom is always very careful about using protection, which is a very good message to send, and one often left out of fictional sex scenes. Snadowsky also does an admirable job depicting the emotional arc of their relationship.

Unfortunately, I often found the writing awkward, like Snadowsky hasn't quite manage to simulate teen speech patterns. For one thing, their AIM messages are all fully written out in paragraphs with punctuation and capitalization. Every single one. Some teens do write everything out, as I know I tended to, and Wes and Dom are likely to have done that. However, I don't think anyone consistently sent everything in a big paragraph. Generally IMs were no longer than a sentence or two, so that struck me as very strange. Also, at one point, during a breakup, someone says "'I'm going to have to change my status to "single" on MySpace now'" (233). This book was published in 2007, and, by then, it definitely would have been Facebook. That reference might not have been outdated when the book was written, but certainly was by publication, and is laughable now.

In part because of the occasionally awkward writing, I never really bonded with Dom. She's smart and all, but the amount of time she spent focused on Wes seemed a bit excessive, though I've never been the most romantic girl, so maybe that's realistic for people who aren't me. The biggest thing that distanced me from Dom was her jealousy...of Wes' dog, Jessica. She thinks some seriously mean thoughts about that dog, and, as an animal lover, I could not deal with that. I mean, they're heat of the moment thoughts, but they kept me from loving Dom. She also was generally overeager about things. The first time she's invited to Wes' house, for example, she asks to see his family photo albums, and they weren't romantically involved at this point. That seemed highly odd to me.

Though imperfect, I devoured Anatomy of a Boyfriend, and I really appreciate its frank depiction of sexual exploration and coming of age. I'm very excited to see where Snadowsky goes in the sequel, Anatomy of a Single Girl, which I'm starting next. ( )
  A_Reader_of_Fictions | Apr 1, 2013 |
Ooh, this gets ~dirty.

Very real though, in my opinion. ( )
  cantinera | Mar 30, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385733208, Hardcover)

Before this all happened, the closest I'd ever come to getting physical with a guy was playing the board game Operation. Okay, so maybe that sounds pathetic, but it's not like there were any guys at my high school who I cared to share more than three words with, let alone my body.

Then I met Wes, a track star senior from across town. Maybe it was his soulful blue eyes, or maybe my hormones just started raging. Either way, I was hooked. And after a while, he was too. I couldn't believe how intense my feelings became, or the fact that I was seeing—and touching—parts of the body I'd only read about in my Gray's Anatomy textbook. You could say Wes and I experienced a lot of firsts together that spring. It was scary. It was fun. It was love.

And then came the fall.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:38:57 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

In her last semester at a private school in Fort Myers, Florida, seventeen-year-old Dom finds her life transformed by her first boyfriend, Wes, a track star at the public school her best friend attends.

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