Friday, October 1, 2021

The New David Espinoza by Fred Aceves


David Espinoza is tired of getting pushed around and bullied. Despite the fact that he has a tight group of friends and a smart, beautiful girlfriend, he is tormented by boys in school who delight in harassing him, verbally and physically.  When a video of him getting slapped goes viral, David has had enough. He vows to reinvent himself physically over summer vacation.  While he initially intends to change his physique with food and weight lifting, he's sucked into the seemingly miraculous allure of anabolic steroids.  

As David's summer unfolds, his focus narrows to one thing: his muscular gain.  It seems that there is no cost too high: he spends all the money he makes, he alienates his friends and, uncharacteristically, he begins to treat his girlfriend terribly.

Aceves shows how insidiously destructive steroids can be in this powerful exploration of male body dysmorphia.  David's story is painful to read - he does a phenomenal job of imploding his own life, but the book ends on a relatively hopeful, yet realistic, note. The author's end note adds depth to the story. This is another exceptional North Star Book Award nomination.

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