There are, of course, your 'must' recommendations, (think the infamous Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus) yet my choice of literature left me childishly snorting in public as I inhabited the thoughts of 15 year old Oliver Tate in fictional novel, Submarine by Joe Dunthorne.
I thought, perhaps, it was my wish to revel in high-school nostalgia as I got caught within the sexual endeavors of a school boy pleading to lose his virginity before he turns 16. And then I remembered Alex Turner wrote the soundtrack to the film adaption of the book.
Despite the yearning to understand the male species proving unsuccessful, the observations and musings voiced through one-liners and incessant mockery by adolescent Oliver proves successful in confirming that yes, teenage boys are weird.
In short, the novel is a third person surveillance of the adult world. While Oliver attempts to rekindle his parents relationship and their sex life, which he has been closely monitoring for the past two months via a dimmer switch ("I know when they have been at it because the next morning the dial will still be set to halfway"), his own relationship with eczema prone bob-haired pyromaniac girlfriend Jordana Bevan develops from "My tongue is in Jordana's mouth." to "my hotrod touches her vag".
Although the narrative provides nothing more than a weekday TV soap, involving a love triangle, family disputes and a lot of hanky-panky, Dunthorne's portrayal of Oliver allows the older reader to reminisce their teenage years in reference to first love, innocent foreplay and Chips, who Oliver labels a "traditional school bully" who advises "it should never take more than a week between getting a hand job and stuffing it in."
If you are after a sort-of lighthearted yet sort-of sickeningly amusing read, Submarine is highly worth the purchase. While the book has provided me with no further insight into relationships, the young teenage perspective on the bigger world left me in fits of laughter along with and a list of favourite sexual quotes which will surely intrigue you into reading...
"I've discovered that masturbating in the darkness of my empty wardrobe is excellent, particularly because of that newborn feeling as you stumble back into the well-lit room. A kind of Narnia"
"She pulls aside the crotch of her knickers like a curtain. It is the first time I have seen one in the flesh. It is not so pretty. I remind myself I like the taste of shellfish."
"One more word that may be useful in the heat of passion: dong. Dong sounds like someone very important has arrived."
"There is no pop sound like the seal being broken on a jam jar. Chips lied."
"Her knickers are green. A couple of spider-leg hairs poke through the cotton. It is common knowledge that every human eats six spiders a year while asleep."
Submarine by Joe Dunthorne, 2008.