When Fatty Matty Sullivan finds a self-help book by former football great Tad Manly at a yard sale, he secretly starts following the old pro’s advice to get in shape and get the girl. Summer goals: lose the milkshake weight, join the football team, and turn himself into the kind of guy super hot Cassie Bale will love. But between taking care of his grandfather, trying to pass remedial Algebra, and getting caught up in his friend Jester’s half-baked weed-dealing schemes, Matty’s summer isn’t quite the game-changer he’d planned. When on top of it all his dad moves back in with his own plans to get rich quick, Matty suddenly has much bigger things to worry about than football and whether or not Cassie’s going to call him back. And it turns out that there might be more to being manly than he thought. Maureen O’Leary Wanket’s debut is a sharp, comic novel about trying to do the right thing… even when you’re not sure what that is.
My Thoughts: How To Be Manly is a story of inspiration. I wasn't expecting it to have so many amazing lessons for readers. I also didn't know what I would think of a male main character. I ended up loving Matty's transformation and how much he grew as a person. I thought he was a very relateable teenage boy, having never been one myself. Still, I can remember the struggles of trying to fit in and be noticed in the right way, the temptations to do things the easy way. I think Wanket did a great job portraying all of that with Matty.
I loved the journey that the characters took. While the story focused on Matty and his journey is impressive, other characters shined. Characters like Mr. Manlow, who is so important to the story and Coach who helps Matty out, are some of my favorites. I loved Dirty Harry, too. What an awesome name for a dog!
This book is a fast read. I sat down to read and I didn't want to stop, so a few hours later I found myself coming to the end of the book. I loved the characters, loved the plot and all the obstacles that Matty has to overcome. I think this would be a great read for young adults and adults alike.
Meet the Author:Maureen O’Leary Wanket is a writer and teacher living in Sacramento, California with her husband and two daughters. How To Be Manly is inspired by the humor and courage of the students she’s met in her classrooms over the past twenty years. She loves high school football, but only when she happens to teach at least half of the players on the field. Her short stories have appeared in Esopus, Xenith, Fiction at Work, Blood and Thunder, Musings on the Art of Medicine and Prick of the Spindle. Maureen writes articles about issues in education for local and national publications. She also muses about inspirations for a writer’s life in Friday Free Topic at http://maureenoleary.wordpress.com. How To Be Manly is her first novel. Find Maureen on: Twitter | Blog | Goodreads
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I received an e-copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.