Thursday, March 22, 2007

Adam Selzer's How to Get Suspended and Influence People

I was fully prepared to hate this book. In fact, I am not quite sure why I even wanted to read it, since it was about a gifted student who was making a sex ed video for a class. The fact that the author looked 12 also gave me pause.

I loved this book.

Never mind the painful epiphany this morning that yeah, I should identify more with the parents. (Since my daughter is 13, I should, shouldn't I?). Not only will students want to read this because of the topic, the cartoon cover, and the great Danzigeresque title, it was a good book.

I'm still trying to stop reading Lenora Mattingly Weber (I'm on the 3rd Katie Rose book and can't stop), so you'd think that this book would have sent me into culture shock. I like how Booklist described it: "occasional cussing ("bullshit"), and mostly abstract references to sex."

Rather like Lynch's Slot Machine, this book walks along the line but never falls over. On page 68, Selzer even mentions "the f-word" which would cause his mother's "eyes to bug out, inless it was being said by someone with a British accent. For some reason, she found it less offensive coming from the British." Librarians everywhere are grateful. Like Mr. Streich, I just want to avoid a fight.

It was this sort of mastery of language and wit that made me chuckle every couple of pages. Not as laugh-out-loud-and-quote-to-my-family funny in the way that Sonnenblick is (and why are these young gentlemen channeling Paula with their titles?)but the humor is more pervasive. I loved the parents-- I collect cookbooks from the 50's and never thought of actually trying things like green bean and applesauce casseroles, even though it would be an excellent way to torture my children and I'm dissappointed that I never thought of it myself.

I liked the character development. Even Ms. Smollett wasn't completely evil, just evil enough to dislike. Of course, I can never let my son read this, because he will try to convince his teachers that he is a satanist.

Anymore and I will be gushing. There are not enough funny books for boys, so this made my day. Definitely buying this one and waiting eagerly for the sequel. Check out the author's web site at:

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