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Cole is a boy in high school. He runs cross country, he sketches, he jokes around with friends. But none of this quite matters next to the allure of sex.
'Let me put it this way,' he says. 'Draw a number line, with zero is you never think about sex and ten is it's all you think about, and while you are drawing the line, I am thinking about sex.'
Cole fantasises about whomever he's looking at. He consumes and shares pornography. And he sleeps with a lot of girls, which is beginning to earn him a not-quite-savoury reputation around school.
This leaves him adrift with only his best friend for company, and then something startling starts to happen between them that might be what he's been after all this time...and then he meets Grisaille.
All the Dirty Parts is an unblinking take on teenage desire in a culture of unrelenting explicitness and shunted communication, where queer can be as fluid as consent, where sex feels like love, but no one knows what love feels like.
With short chapters in the style of Jenny Offill or Mary Robison, Daniel Handler gives us a tender, brutal, funny, intoxicating portrait of an age when the lens of sex tilts the world.
'There are love stories galore,' Cole tells us. 'This isn't that. The story I'm typing is all the dirty parts.'
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Lilly-Marie Lamarl on 11-11-17
This book stops at nothing, in a good way
I would never have thought to buy a book on this topic if it weren't for the fact that it's by Daniel handler and for those who love Daniel handler, this book is as well written and wild and entertaining, with just enough sincerity thrown in to make it real, as any of he's others. The thing about this book though, is that it's about… A sex obsessed high school boy. But the thing that I think makes the book succeed is that The protagonist does grow and change and have some very important realizations. Without giving away the story, I'll just say that he meets his match, and this is a real eye-opener for him. If you're going to read the book, much less enjoy it, you just have to decide you're going to be comfortable being in the head of a type of character we usually aren't asked to sympathize with very much, just willing to give him a shot. And yes… You have to be comfortable reading about sex, a lot of it. But the equally special thing about this book is that it's basically pro women, and ultimately validates the female experience of love and sex at that age. There are some fine female characters, who take our male protagonist to task, and keep him on his toes!
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