Title: Todd Sweeney: The Fiend of Fleet High
Author: David Pratt
Publisher: Hosta Press
TAGS: LGBT and Allies, Young Adult/New Adult, Thriller, Family Drama
DEXTER MEETS THE JOY OF COOKING in a gay book about…two allies! When straight Todd Sweeney’s gay buddy, Toby Ragg, is threatened by Fleet High’s homophobic guidance counselor, Todd swings into action. But he swings a bit too hard. Enter adorable A-student Nellie Lovett, who knows how to clean up a mess. Squeers vanishes tidily, but when Fleet High bad boy Ryan Plouf threatens Toby and Nellie, suddenly he, too, is missing, and local cop Tarron Littey has some inconvenient questions. Meantime, Toby’s parents want to put him in gay conversion camp. Will Toby be saved? What of his boyfriend, imprisoned in a different camp? Will Todd’s and Nellie’s creative way of disposing of bad guys come to light? To find out, dig in and devour Todd Sweeney. And yes, it’s okay to use your hands!
“Attend the Tale…”
I’m very grateful to Avril for this opportunity to talk about my new YA satire, Todd Sweeney: The Fiend of Fleet High. Not everyone wants to talk about it. Some sites have passed on it because, well, it’s a tad cheesy…right? It’s an out and out rip-off of a popular legend with the shirtless boy on the cover and it’s pretty definitely making fun of something or someone, but who or what? We’re wary of satire because it might be criticizing us. Or maybe the book is one big, tacky goof. Todd Sweeney??? Are you serious???
Well, yes, I am.
Satire is delicious fun and serious business. Selling sex and bloodshed is one thing. Yes, it is fun. Telling a heartfelt story about sex and bloodshed is another thing, one I found deeply satisfying. If my readers also feel satisfied, does it matter why? Yes and no.
As an author, I am a crusader—for gays, immigrants, refugees and women, in this case. But I also serve you. I must keep you breathlessly involved and hilariously or heartbreakingly entertained. You have NO OTHER REASON to keep reading. I also get all jump-up-and-down excited about messing with you.
Now, I make you laugh (at something you might not have wanted to laugh at)! Now, I make you cry (at something you didn’t expect)! Now the heroes are in nun costumes! Now someone’s eating the school bully! (NOTE: All items listed above are 100% guaranteed to actually appear in Todd Sweeney.)
Social critics are angry people. Orwell said Dickens was “generously angry.” So that’s more than a chuckle you hear from me. The social critic/entertainer makes an evil cackle. Evil cackles are fun. I think I’ll do one right now. MWA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!!! Go on. Try it. Louder! That’s the stuff! Now, do it again.
Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. said that authors must get characters in trouble. He says we must torture them. Okay, he didn’t say butcher them, drain their blood and bake them into pies, but I think it’s understood. Anyway, I’m having a great time going around reading from Todd and getting laughs alternating with cries of “Eww!” (Usually over the joke about the liver.) Then laughs again, because we love to be grossed out. We love to cry, too, and we also take those things seriously. One of Todd’s most pitiable characters is going through the very serious stuff that many people are going through these days. This same character undergoes a terrible loss that is shamelessly manipulative on my part (this is a melodrama, so I have some obligations) but which also says a lot about how love and companionship give our lives purpose. Todd himself wants purpose. He wants to protect those he loves.
What do you do when bullies—including adult bullies with authority—can get away with anything they want? I will let you find that answer, by reading Todd Sweeney: The Fiend of Fleet High!
About the Author
David Pratt is the author of the novels Todd Sweeney, The Fiend of Fleet High, (Hosta Press) Wallaçonia (Beautiful Dreamer Press), Looking After Joey (Lethe Press) and the Lambda Literary Award-winning Bob the Book (Chelsea Station Editions). David’s story collection, My Movie (Chelsea Station) includes new work and short fiction published in Christopher Street, The James White Review, Velvet Mafia, Lodestar Quarterly and other periodicals. Recent anthology publications include Louis Flint Ceci’s Not Just Another Pretty Face, Paul Alan Fahey’s The Other Man, and Jameson Currier’s With. David directed and performed his work for the theater in New York City at the Cornelia Street Café, HERE Arts Center and Dixon Place, and in the New York International Fringe Festival. More recently, he performed with Michigan artist Nicholas Williams at The Forge in Detroit, Michigan. In the 1980s, David was the first director of plays by acclaimed Canadian playwright John Mighton.
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