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3.62  ·  Rating details ·  1,742 ratings  ·  198 reviews
Peter Paddington is 13, overweight, the subject of his classmates’ ridicule, and the victim of too many bad movie-of-the-week storylines. When Peter’s nipples begin speaking to him one day and inform him of their diabolical plan to expose his secret desires to the world, Peter finds himself cornered in a world that seems to have no tolerance for difference.

Peter’s only sol
Paperback, 278 pages
Published May 1st 2004 by ECW Press
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Average rating 3.62  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,742 ratings  ·  198 reviews

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Neil Mudde
Feb 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: ANYONE
Recommended to Neil by: Canada Reads
Simply called "Fruit" in Canada by Brian Francis.

I started reading the book enjoying it,its funny,sad,nostalgic content although I found that when I got to the middle of the book, I had to give it a rest,as the feelings expressed about being and feeling different,from other boys, brought back unpleasant memories of my childhood.
Peter is focused more on his weight, especially his nipples, but the need to avoid bullies, nasty comments etc. at any cost is frightening. Peter certainly had a wonder
Feb 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
4 Stars

Passionately defended by Jen Sookfong Lee (End of East), Fruit made it to the final two in CBC’s 2009 Canada Reads. If you missed this exciting week, and/or know little about Fruit by Brian Francis, I can say unequivocally that is is it a delightful read, and at no time inauthentic.

Written in the first person, this novel, set in the early 1980’s, makes us privy to Peter Paddington’s immediate thoughts, most especially the fantasy world he inhabits: his cherry-sized nipples, which pop out
Barbara McEwen
Sep 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: canadian, lgbtq
This book was so much fun. I loved Pete in all his denial. Oh and the Canadiana, lol, very familiar to someone my age. Makes me smile to think of it.
May 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My husband bought this book for me for Christmas about seven years ago when we were living in Chicago. Why? Because he read a portion of the novel and laughed at a part where the main character, Peter Paddington, places Band Aids over his nipples to keep them quiet.

Once I started reading the book, it was all over. There are so many laugh out loud moments in this book. The main character is an overweight high schooler who is babied with sugary, fat treats from his mother and has zilch social skil
George K. Ilsley
I’ve enjoyed re-reading this book over the years. Even though I've read it a couple of times before, there are still "lol" elements. I also appreciate that it does not have a sappy, sentimental ending, but remains in the realm of the completely believable. Oh, Peter Paddington, where are you now? It gets better, you know.
Feb 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
I read the description of this book and HAD to read it. I just had to. I'm so glad I did. While this book did not turn out to be what I had expected, I enjoyed it much more than I had expected. It's not really about crazy talking nipples and it's not just your typical coming of age story. It's about an insecure but imaginative 13 year old boy and how he handles going through things he doesn't even realize he's going through. It's strange, but being 13 is strange, and this book found a way to mak ...more
Jan 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: canlit, lgbtqi2s
A beautifully innocent, uncensored Bildungsroman. Observant, curious, and just plain cute, it is impossible to not end this book loving poor Peter Paddington, who is like us in so many ways. Brian Francis has created a classic in Fruit. I hope this book falls into the hands of those who need it, for I think it has the potential to be especially healing and enlightening to a few particular demographics.

Read on recommendation of CBC Books' 100 novels that make you proud to be Canadian.
Nov 25, 2008 added it
Recommended to Mary by:
One of the five novels chosen for Canada Reads for March 2-6, 2009. More at The title in the U.S. is The Secret Fruit of Peter Paddington: A Novel (P.S.) My writing partner, Jen Sookfong Lee will be pumping for this novel when the show hits the airwaves. Jen's website is and, if you're curious, our writing group resides at ...more
Feb 03, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm not sure how a book featuring talking nipples could go so wrong, but miracles never cease. A junior high boy on a journey to self discovery dealing with weight and questioning his sexualuality. Not worth it unless you like talking about candy bars. Or just really like the idea of talking nipples.
Jan 12, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
Had read this book before, but read it on the plane and loved it. I love the voice, the Sarnia setting and the unique story. This is a Canada Reads selection for 2009. I don't think it will win as it is rather different, but I'm glad that it is getting more attention.
Aug 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
a re-read. I've read this at least twice before and damn of it wasn't just as good this round. if you've been a teenager, or known a teenager, or just need to figure out a teenager, you will probably adore this.
Karlyflower *The Vampire Ninja, Luminescent Monster & Wendigo Nerd Goddess of Canada (according to The Hulk)*
I'm not entirely sure how I feel about Brian Francis's Fruit: A Novel About a Boy and His Nipples ... there were elements I loved, some I despised, others that wigged me out and still more which left me vaguely hollow.

Told from the perspective of an overweight 13-year-old boy named Peter Paddington, Fruit is essentially a book about nothing. There is really no plot or scheme here, this is a novel about what it is not to fit in. And while there are humorous themes within the novel the subject it
Jun 11, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As posted in []:

Peter Paddington is an overweight 13-year-old paperboy...with man-boobs. Any guys who have struggled with their weight as a teenager knows it's just downright embarrassing to be cursed with man-boobs.

What's even worse is that Peter has imaginary conversations with his nipples. His nipples are telling him what to do even to the point of daring him.

Peter is just a fat paperboy who is just not quite like the other guys. He isn't into sports, which is a disappo
Feb 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
I was pleasantly surprised with this book. I had a preconceived idea that I wouldn't like it, but I was hooked from the first paragraph. Which I just have to share:
"My name is Peter Paddington. I just started grade 8 at Clarkedale Elementary School. Six days a week, I deliver the Sarnia Observer and the other day my nipples popped out."

Then, I just sat and read. And laughed, and laughed.

All thoroughout the book I thought poor kid, he has no real friends, with a dysfunctional family, his mother
Sasha Boersma
Aug 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
I may have been laughing at this book more out of his stories of Sarnia than his "coming of age" tale. Or maybe it's just the memory of coming of age in Sarnia.

While key locations had their names changed, I knew where everything was he mentioned, as that was in the same neighbourhood as my childhood. Right down to the flowering-tree lined streets Which is why I loved it.

Too often Canadian literature passes over southwestern Ontario, let alone small working class cities which, socially, is quit
Jun 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
I loved this coming of age tale of an overweight, shy, just beginning to figure out he's gay, thirteen year old boy. He's very naive, and is highly uncomfortable with the changes that puberty has wrought upon his body. Like most teens he feels alienated from his caring but clueless parents who are dealing with their own problems and his self absorbed older sisters who treat him as a nuisance at best and pariah at worst. He has a friend in Daniela, the foul mouthed neighbour girl that works in he ...more
Jul 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This was a first novel in which the author has spilled an entire childhood of fear and loathing onto the page. Peter is horrified by his suddenly noticeable nipples talking to him, criticising, bullying, and generally making his life miserable. He buys rolls of making tape and tapes himself up to hide the nipples and later substitutes an elastic bandage. He tries to figure out what the world is about, why he doesn't have friends, what the code is that everyone seems to be speaking, and what he s ...more
Dec 07, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people with a twisted sense of humor
So I was a little bit of a loser in Junior High, but I had it great compared to Peter Paddington. He has talking man-boobs, his only friend is this crazy, hairy, potty-mouthed Catholic girl on his street, and he has fruity secret fantasies! But in spite of all this, Peter's voice is never too whiny and the book manages to have a sense of humor about itself while also being strangely inspiring. Those who are expecting a typical coming-of-age and coming out story might be disappointed, because the ...more
Jan 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Lorraine by: Adam, CBC Canada Reads
Shelves: youth, canadian
Well written novel with seamless transitions between reality and fantasy sequences. Rather disturbing in some ways, though. I always felt embarrassed for and of the protagonist. He's very awkward, and yet normal...I think it's his obesity that made me most embarrassed, though his sexual thoughts also made me feel like I was invading his privacy. A very unusual book in that sense, though for young male teens who are obese and/or gay, this book may be what they need to affirm themselves as valuabl ...more
Sep 11, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: glbtq
This was absolutely hilarious! Awesome first book!

Story of an overweight teen who is horrified when 'his nipples pop out' and spends the whole book taping them down so that no one notices. Oh, and they talk to him, too!

Told first person POV, and Peter's voice is nailed perfectly. The way he thinks and talks is so true for a person Peter's age.

Toward the end, Peter was working on losing weight. My only complaint is that we never fully got to see him try and see if he was successful. Screw if he l
What a wonderful and charming book! And probably the first young adult/puberty book I've read from a male perspective.

I devoured it in two days and I was dismayed to see it end.

It is hard to write young people's voices without sounding overly precocious or obnoxious but Brian Francis achieves this feat successfully. While his character's motivations can at times be annoying, my thinking is that they are only so because they hit so close to home.

He has so finely tuned the magnified self-awarene
Dec 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
A quirky book about an obese, gay teenager going through puberty in Sarnia, Ontario. "Fruit" chronicles what you would expect: an odd but loving family, odd but loving neighbourhood characters, and the imaginative internal life of an isolated kid trying to accept himself for who he truly is.

Still, it's told well with enough memorable characters and events that it doesn't feel too much like tired ground. Francis injects enough pathos into his humour to make for a compelling read and ground the bo
Jul 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fabulous
This book was really touching and I connected with the main character. It's funny growing up on the outside of life, as a fat, queer kid and how you begin to think that you may actually be going crazy. And the crazy things you do to your body to squash the parts that shouldn't made me laugh and cry all at the same time. I recommend this book to any and everyone who has ever felt the least bit different as a child. Funny, warm and heartfelt. It was like a Lifetime movie minus the c ...more
Sep 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: contemporary
If my nipples could speak they'd say, "Terrific, terrific, terrific book." (Because if they were to sound more eloquent than me, like Peter I would tape over them and shut them up.)

However, this book goes well beyond the topic of nipples. Yes, Peter is gay, but he hasn't figured it out yet. And so the book stopped being about sexual identity at all. Instead all I saw was a boy trying to fit in, be the "right weight" (a Mom who doesn't want her 200 pound thirteen yr old to stop eating fast food,
Will Byrnes
13 year old Peter Paddington is overweight and most definitely gay. He is coming to terms with this encouraged by his growing nipples which have taken to talking to him and excoriating him for his lack of courage. This is a delightful novel of a young gay lad coming of age. It is charming, clever brash and very entertaining.
Erin Thornhill
May 23, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I might even need to to change this to five stars. This book was a touching AND hilarious. I found myslef laughing out loud regularly. A young teen from Sarnia entering puberty, dealing with his weight and sexuality while eating too many wagon wheels and shopping at the Bi-Way! An enchanting blast from the past.
Lindsey (Bring My Books)
In some ways, I think it's a more 'adult' (I want to say crass, but that seems too strong an adjective) version of Perks of Being a Wallflower. Peter's search for his identity and/or where he belongs is a lot more painful than Charlie's (Perks) though...a LOT more painful. But who can't relate to that, in one way or another? I envy those of you that had the perfect middle school experience!
❀ Susan G
Apr 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018-reads
This is one book that I would have given 3.5. I listened to it in audio and in some ways the internal monologue of Peter was funny but in many ways his insecurities and struggles were heartbreaking. It was a walk back in time to the 1980s days of Woolco, Consumers Distributing and Jane Fonda workout records which was reminiscent of my teen years. A more fulsome review is pending.
Janet Cameron
Apr 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Loved it. Very funny and touching with great characters, especially Peter, and I loved the 80s detail - how long has it been since I've thought about Suzy Shier or Peoples Jewellery? I'm only sorry that the novel seems to end so suddenly.
Matt Wainwright
Jan 22, 2018 rated it did not like it
I have a fairly warped sense of humor and am not averse to reading a book like this one. No offense to the author, or the other reviewers that loved it, but it just wasn't my cup of tea. I listened to the audiobook. Maybe I would've enjoyed reading it myself a bit more.
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Brian Francis’s most recent novel, Break in Case of Emergency, was a finalist for the 2019 Governor General’s Literary Awards. Apple Books called it a “knockout” and The Globe and Mail said it “beautifully explores issues around mental health and suicide.”

His previous novel, Natural Order, was selected by the Toronto Star, Kobo and Georgia Straight as a Best Book of 2011.

His first novel, Fruit, w

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