Love wins

In An­dre Fen­ton’s Wor­thy of Love, the young poet’s de­but novel, he tack­les body im­age from a male per­spec­tive.

The Coast - - ARTS - BY BRAN­DON YOUNG

An­dre Fen­ton, Wor­thy of Love sign­ings

Thurs­day, Novem­ber 29, 12-2pm Coles, Sco­tia Square, 5201 Duke Street and Fri­day, Novem­ber 30, 6-7:30pm Chap­ters Bay­ers Lake, 188 Chain Lake Drive

An­dre

Fen­ton wants read­ers of his de­but novel Wor­thy of Love to know there’s more to some­one than their phys­i­cal ap­pear­ance. Hav­ing his own strug­gles with body im­age, he hopes to bring a new voice to the lit­er­ary world.

“I thought it was an im­por­tant story to tell for youth that feel un­der­rep­re­sented in the young-adult fic­tion genre,” says Fen­ton. “There aren’t enough books for young men, es­pe­cially Black boys, who are strug­gling with poor body im­age, so I wanted to touch on that in the book.”

Wor­thy of Love fol­lows Adrian Carter, a mixed-raced teen from the north end who

strug­gles with poor self-im­age and bul­ly­ing. He de­cides to lose weight. When he falls for Mel Woods, a girl with a pas­sion for fit­ness, he be­gins tak­ing dan­ger­ous weight­loss mea­sures and ex­press­ing his self-es­teem is­sues in un­healthy ways which strain their re­la­tion­ship.

“Adrian be­lieves his body im­age and how he looks makes him wor­thy,” says Fen­ton. “Through­out the story, he’s try­ing to un­learn that and know that there’s so much more to him be­sides the num­bers on the scale.”

Fen­ton, an ac­com­plished poet and as­pir­ing film­maker, has been de­vel­op­ing Wor­thy of

Love’s char­ac­ters since he was in high school. “I think that grow­ing up while writ­ing these char­ac­ters,” he says, “helped me to learn a lot about my­self and I use those life les­sons in the sto­ries.”

En­ter­ing a new and ex­cit­ing chap­ter, Fen­ton is look­ing for­ward to a fu­ture he hopes in­cludes new sto­ries, char­ac­ters and voices in Cana­dian lit­er­a­ture.

“I hope they take away the idea of em­pa­thy,” says Fen­ton of his own read­ers. “And also re­al­iz­ing that the things you do, and who you un­load on, im­pacts other peo­ple.” a

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