Lisa Doucet Reviews Worthy of Love
Andre Fenton’s debut YA novel shows complexity of self-esteem and identity
Worthy of Love
Written by Andre Fenton
Adrian Carter is uncomfortably aware of his weight problem and after yet another humiliating encounter at school because of it, he decides to take action. Determined to lose weight, he joins a kickboxing club. He also meets an amazing girl named Mel who seems to genuinely like him in spite of his weight, and who offers to help him develop healthier eating and exercising habits to help achieve his goal.
When Adrian doesn’t see results fast enough for his liking he decides to take more drastic measures. Soon he has to face the fact that he is now also battling an eating disorder, and that his rapid weight loss has resulted in unanticipated problems. Adrian learns many crucial life lessons as he struggles to find his way to happiness and personal fulfillment.
In his first novel for young adults, Halifax spoken-word poet Andre Fenton tackles head-on several topical issues facing contemporary teens. Adrian is a realistically flawed protagonist. He is vulnerable and insecure.
Fenton ably depicts the feelings of self-doubt that often lead Adrian to become lost in his own concerns, unable to appreciate what Mel or others might be going through. He also thoughtfully portrays Adrian’s realization, once he does lose weight, that he still isn’t happy and now is faced with other doubts and fears.
This book explores the complexities of relationships, self-image and self-harm in a way that feels very open and honest. While Adrian’s internal monologues occasionally feel more didactic than natural (and he employs too many adjectives for his dialogue to feel authentic), he is nonetheless believable and sympathetic as a protagonist.