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.
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.
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.
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Blades of grass tickled my ear. So this is where I would die. The sun burned my eyes right out of their sockets.
“You okay, Matt?” Coach Grimes bent over me. His breath was minty. He was chewing gum. It was blue. How dumb that my last thought on earth before I died would be noticing that my Coach’s gum was blue. On the last run at the sled I knocked my stomach into my lungs. Black spots danced around Coach’s head. I wondered if he could see them too.
He held up a finger. I watched it go back and forth. Then he pulled me up by my helmet face guard. My feet stayed under me.
“You’re okay,” he said. He smacked me on the butt. There was a lot of butt-smacking so far in football.
“I’m dying,” I croaked.
“Nah,” Coach said. “Just had the wind knocked out of you. Never had the wind knocked out of you before?”
Coach put his arm around me. “You’re doing fine, Matt. Keep working. Keep working.”
Then he pushed me back into line for drills.
This was where I lived now. Nothing else was real. I ran at the sled. There were purple jerseys and the sun in my eyes and green grass. A sea of green. Always green. The field never ended.
The sled. My enemy. It looked padded and cushy but that was a trick.
I ran at full speed. I never ran that fast in my life.