Dough Boy

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Overweight, fifteen-year-old Tristan, who lives happily with his divorced mother and her boyfriend, Frank, suddenly finds that he must deal with intensified criticism about his weight and other aspects of his life when Frank's popular but troubled, nutrition-obsessed daughter moves in.
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Overweight, fifteen-year-old Tristan, who lives happily with his divorced mother and her boyfriend, Frank, suddenly finds that he must deal with intensified criticism about his weight and other aspects of his life when Frank's popular but troubled, nutrition-obsessed daughter moves in.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Marino, an English professor and playwright, clearly knows teenagers as well as drama and comedy-and effectively meshes all three in this insightful first novel. Tristan, the pudgy, levelheaded and thoroughly sympathetic 15-year-old who narrates, spends alternate weeks with his recently divorced professor parents, each of whom is involved with someone who is overweight. In his comical commentary, he explains how his contentment with his highly functional family wanes when the daughter of his mother's likable beau, Kelly ("so gorgeous I was embarrassed to be alive," according to Tristan), comes back to live with Frank, her father, in whose home Tristan's mother now resides. Self-righteous and nutrition-obsessed, Kelly criticizes her father and Tristan for their girth; she begins dating Marco, Tristan's arrogant so-called best friend, from whom the hero feels increasingly estranged ("Marco was now very popular at school, and somehow that gave me recognition, like a backup singer"); and she drives a sharp wedge between her father and Tristan's mother. Tristan's candid, wry narrative brims with on-target observations (e.g., "Fairness comes in small lumps. Unfairness comes in barrels," he notes, discussing Kelly's meteoric rise to popularity at school and his own comparative anonymity). Readers will easily feel the boy's anger and will applaud his resilience and resolve to remain true to himself. The story's supporting players-especially Tristan's parents-help make this a winning debut, at once humorous and heartrending. Ages 14-up. (Oct.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
What does one call an overweight, romantically challenged, fifteen-year-old approval junkie who fears puberty has past him by? For Tristan, the answer is "Dough Boy." The son of divorced parents, he gets along with Cyndi, his father's girlfriend (who struggles with her weight), and his mother's boyfriend, Frank, "whose definition of eating right means eating right away." His life, aside from fad diets and "extreme eating," is good. Then Frank's daughter, Kelly, a sixteen-year-old budding nutritionist, moves in and decides to save Tristan from his poor eating habits by monitoring his exercise, introducing him to "the lettuce diet," and inflicting a "health-food Thanksgiving" on the family. Kelly hooks up with Tristan's best friend, Marco, further straining a relationship complicated by Tristan riding Marco's popularity at school while Marco takes advantage of Tristan to stay afloat academically. Marino crafts a coming-of-age story that teens of both genders will enjoy. Scenes-Tristan's annual P.E. test; his discovery of Marco and Kelly having sex; and his finding enjoyment in cross-country skiing-are filtered through bouts of low self-esteem and his desire to both be a part of and escape from his high school's in-crowd. Teens picking up this title will appreciate the sarcasm and re-read a number of laugh-out-loud moments having just the right amount of teenage paranoia. The ending, although unexpected, falls flat, leaving readers waiting for a resolution that never comes and wondering what might have been. VOYA CODES: 3Q 3P J S (Readable without serious defects; Will appeal with pushing; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2005, Holiday House,221p., Ages 12 to 18.
—Jay Wise
School Library Journal
Gr 7-10-In this funny but heart-wrenching story, 15-year-old Tristan spends one week with his college-professor mom and her boyfriend Frank, and the next with his college-professor dad and his girlfriend, and the situation works for everyone. Tristan's excess weight has always bothered him but since both of his parents live with heavy partners, he's been able to deal with it. But all that changes when Frank's daughter moves in. Beautiful, calorie-conscious Kelly turns heads, but her mouth is lethal as she immediately zeroes in on Tristan's weight and twists a knife into the wounds that she inflicts on his self-esteem. Things go from bad to worse as her cruelty, added to the casual torment by other students, finally causes Tristan to recognize that he needs to remove himself from the toxic atmosphere and live exclusively with his dad, and to find coping mechanisms to help him deal with the school atmosphere. The ending is hopeful as the teen regains his humor and discovers how much he enjoys cross-country skiing. A priority purchase for all libraries serving teens.-Susan Riley, Mount Kisco Public Library, NY Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Fifteen-year-old Tristan reports his enduring humiliation and bullying in this humorous tale about living under a yoke of criticism. Tristan's newly divorced mother moves in with a sweet man named Frank; Frank's daughter Kelly despises fatness. Despite the presence of two adults, she takes control of the household food and glares if Tristan even looks at an oatmeal cookie. Frank's gentleness melts into passivity and Tristan's mom is no help; the house deteriorates into fighting and misery. Sadly, Kelly's family victims have difficulty standing up for themselves with any clarity or result until nearly the end. At school, peers taunt Tristan and trip him in the cafeteria. Marino is to be commended for avoiding the usual pitfall of this topic (fat character must lose weight to gain self-esteem); in fact, Tristan's droll attitude is one of the highlights of his character. The material details of Tristan's life don't change much over the story's arc, though by the end, he has begun to take control for himself. Insightful. (Fiction. YA)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780823418732
  • Publisher: Holiday House, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/28/2006
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 176
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: 820L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter Marino is an English professor and a playwright whose first play has been produced in festivals around the country. He lives with his spouse, B.A. Broadwell, and their two "children," Ofi and Scratchbat (a dog and a bat, but not just any dog and bat) in New York State.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 30, 2009

    Touching and very Funny! Peter Marino's first novel, Dough Boy teaches lessons not to be forgotten!

    Dough Boy is a touching story about an overweight 15 year old boy named Tristan, or, "Dough Boy." Unlike other kids, Tristan doesn't mind it when his parents get divorced. But everything changes when his mother's boyfriend's nutritional freak daughter, Kelly moves in from her mother's house in Buffalo. All of a sudden, Tristan is put on a strict diet and excercise program. After a series of mishaps at school and hame, Tristan finds comfort when taking on a new favorite sport of his, cross country skiing. After everyone in school makes fun of his weight, it only gets worse when his ex-best friend, Marco hooks up with Kelly. Tristan will confide in no one, not even his parents, because big boys can handle their own problems. Could poor Tristan ever break free of this madness?

    I thought that this was a funny book, not to mention it teaches important life lessons. My favorite :No matter how many people you come across in life, there's always going to be someone who will pick out something about you they don't approve of. Your choice is to ignore the one person out of thousands, or let the one ruin your life and get to you.
    I would recommend this book for teens and young adults. Thank you, Peter Marino! Happy Reading!

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