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.
Grandma went straight for a table full of black Santa Claus statues. Grandma was a big believer in black Santa. I think if on Christmas Eve Grandma caught a white Santa coming down our chimney she’d send him right back up. She wasn’t prejudiced or anything. She loved Grandpa and he was white. Grandma just thought that black Santa deserved a chance too. Whenever there was a black Santa statue at a yard sale it was always the first thing she grabbed.
The Christmas stuff didn’t interest me. I shoved the rest of the donut in my mouth and stuck around the books. They had a million books about sports.
I brushed sugar off my hands and tried to find some science fiction. Then a title of one of the football books made me stop and pick it up. It was called How to Be Manly.
I looked around real fast to make sure that nobody saw me pick up a book called How to Be Manly.
There was a picture of the author on the front. He was a football player from when I was a little kid. He clutched a ball to his chest and he was about to run through a big mob of other players. I flipped through the pages. There were only a few pictures. The back said that he was an MVP for the Chargers.
I used to be a fat kid. A loser. I started reading the first couple lines and I couldn’t stop. It was like I was hypnotized. Girls wouldn’t have anything to do with me. I had nothing to show for myself. The guy’s voice was right there in my head.
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.
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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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