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Sunday, May 16, 2010

THE BOY/FRIEND By R.M. Corbet. Girlfriend Fiction 19. Sydney: Allen and Unwin 2010

Robert (R.M.) Corbet has written fiction for young adults for some time. His last Girlfriend Fiction novel, the romantic comedy Fifteen Love, was actually a re-packaged earlier novel, but this one is brand new. Like Fifteen Love, it is straight romantic comedy rather than a novel with some romance included.

Somewhere in the suburbs of Melbourne (Brunswick?) live best friends Maude and Lou (named for Louis Armstrong, in his musical family). They have lived on the same street all their lives, built a tree-house together and spent hours under the now-cut-down willow trees on the banks of the Merri Creek. Unexpectedly, Lou has asked Maude on a date. Thrown off-balance, she hasn’t taken it seriously, hurting Lou’s feelings.

What now? Does she want him after all? How does she compete with the gorgeous new member of his experimental punk rock band? Or the other female member of his band, who has extremely long legs and is an expert in setting up equipment? What does she do about the clingy Andy?

Of course, this is Girlfriend Fiction. All goes well, with the help of Lou’s sister, a rusting old BMW and a bunch of big hairy bikies.

Mr Corbet certainly enjoys writing over-the-top fiction – and who can’t remember the boy/girl friendship that changed when the boy suddenly noticed you were a girl? I still have the first gift I was given by such a boy, red-faced with embarrassment, when we were twelve…

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