There’s something different about my body. It’s like the missing hole in a jigsaw puzzle your eyes keep going back to. If I were to take off my shirt you wouldn’t see my face, freckles or ratty hair. All you’d see is the crevice in the middle of my chest.
Jack might like footy, cars and girls, but that doesn’t make him the same as other teenage boys. What makes him different is the hole in his chest – caused by pectus excavatum, it means that his chest caves inwards. Only Jack’s best friend Gez knows about his deformity – Jack has never let anyone else see him without his shirt on. But as he navigates the twin trials of the school football team and his first relationship with a girl, Jack wonders how much longer he can keep his secret and how people will react when they find out.
My Private Pectus is a story about lots of the issues which confront older teens – relationships, self image, sporting prowess and family relationships – but the issue which most influences Jack’s life is that of body image. In keeping his deformity a secret he risks losing his friends. At the same time, he must also confront his confidence issues when it comes to connecting with his father, a retired soldier who is also the coach of Jack’s football team.
With a blend of humour, action and honesty, My Private Pectus is a satisfying read.
My Private Pectus, by Shane Thamm
Ford Street, 2009
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