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All the Dirty Parts

All the Dirty Parts Book Cover All the Dirty Parts
Daniel Handler
Bloomsbury USA
August 23, 2017

From bestselling, award-winning author Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket), an eagerly anticipated, gutsy, exciting novel that looks honestly at the erotic lives and impulses of an all-too-typical young man. Cole is a boy in high school. He runs cross country, he sketches in a sketchbook, 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 fantasizes about whomever he's looking at. He consumes and shares pornography. And he sleeps with a lot of girls--girls who seem to enjoy it at the time and seem to feel bad about it afterwards. Cole is getting a reputation around school--a not quite savory one--which leaves him adrift and hanging out with his best friend. Which is when something startling begins to happen between them--another kind of adventure, unexpected and hot, that might be what he's been after all this time. And then he meets Grisaille. A companion piece to Handler's Why We Broke Up, the bestselling Michael J. Printz Honor novel, All The Dirty Parts is an unblinking take on the varied and ribald world of 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. Structured in short chapters recalling Jenny Offill's Dept. of Speculation or Mary Robison's Why Did I Ever, the novel gives us a tender, brutal, funny, and always intoxicating portrait of an age in which the whole world is tilted through the lens of sex. "There are love stories galore," Cole tells us, "and we all know them. This isn't that. The story I'm typing is all the dirty parts."



“All the Dirty Parts” is one of those books that you will either love or hate.  I’m in the LOVE camp.  Warning: Don’t buy this for a kid thinking “Lemony Snicket.” This is not a good present from Grandma, though I can promise you it would get read.

Most of us know what it’s like to wait for the dirty part in a movie, book, story your friend is telling, or even our own lives if we’re honest about it.  It seems like that’s the good part.  The genius of “All the Dirty Parts” is that is exactly what the name implies:  all of the dirty parts of Cole’s life.  The problem is, when you only look at that, your perception of him as a person is not very good.  He seems like a jerk, and probably is, but you can only he has some redeeming qualities about him since he has friends and good grades.  We just don’t know what they are.  He doesn’t even know what they are.  There are a lot of things he doesn’t know about himself, but I’ll leave it to you to learn them.

This book is listed as an adult novel, and that is definitely the correct classification.  That being said, there are a lot of lessons in literature that can be taught using it for the older young adult and new adult crowd.  It’s also certain to make some banned book lists and become a coveted book for teenagers to acquire.  I’m ok with that.  Maybe they’ll accidentally learn something.

Highly recommended!

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.


Content Warning:

I don’t normally do content warnings on adult books, but be aware that this one is filthy.  The words aren’t minced and the sex is graphic.  Proceed at your own risk.