Daniel Handler, more commonly known by his pen name Lemony Snicket, is publishing a new book this year that marks a significant departure from The Series of Unfortunate Events stories for which he’s best known. Titled All the Dirty Parts, the new book will focus on high school and sex through the eyes of its protagonist and narrator, Cole.
As Entertainment Weekly reports, the first sentence of the book gives us a good idea about what we can expect from the new novel in terms of subject matter. It reads, “Let me put it this way: This is how much I think about sex. 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.”
This book won’t be Handler’s first departure from A Series of Unfortunate Events. His YA novel, Why We Broke Up, was published in 2011. He tells EW that he spent several years mulling over the idea for All the Dirty Parts, which came to him when he noticed a gender gap among YA readers:
“I was asked to give a talk on encouraging reading and teenage boys, who often fall off the literary bandwagon. I had just been on tour for my YA novel Why We Broke Up, and I’d noticed that for the first time there was a real gender imbalance in my audiences — the crowds were almost entirely young women. I went home and reread some of my favorite novels from when I was a teenager — classics and new fiction, highbrow and lowbrow, brilliance and trash, but all with one thing in common: they had a lot of sex. I looked around for books published now that were honest about the sexuality of young men, and didn’t find much. I sensed a gap in the literary landscape, a gap that would be interesting to precisely the audience we worry about losing.”
The story will follow Cole as his sexual experiences earn him a reputation that he has mixed feelings about, and his relationship with his best friend undergoes some interesting changes. Handler says the most difficult part about writing the new book was “balancing a feminist consciousness with a desire to write honestly about sexuality in young men.”
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