Review Blog

Nov 16 2009

My private pectus by Shane Thamm

cover image

Ford Street Publishing, 2009. ISBN: 9781876462833.
Highly recommended for 13 years plus. My private pectus is a story based on teenage life and relationships from the male point of view.
Jack McDermott, the main character states early on that: 'If I were to take off my shirt you wouldn't see my face, freckles or ratty hair. All you'd see is the crevice in the middle of my chest.' The storyline follows Jack's struggle to acknowledge and show his chest deformity, (a genetic flaw known as 'pectus excavatum') to his school friends and the low self esteem and sometimes irrational behaviour that results. Jack, nicknamed 'Sticks,' also strives to overcome his father's desire for him to play rugby league and join the army without upsetting him.
Many aspects of teenage life, like rugby training, beach parties, cars and relationships with girls are interwoven in a very believable and readable manner. The author's career in outdoor education and university studies of masculinities gives credibility and realism to make this an insightful story. Front cover photos of three surfers and a rugby ball will attract the targeted male audience, as will the large font of the text.
Kay Haarsma

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