Thursday, October 16, 2008

book review: king dork

King Dork King Dork by Frank Portman

rating: 5 of 5 stars

Plot (from Amazon):
"In Frank Portman's dazzling debut novel, frustrated song-writer and high school student Tom Henderson finds his dead father's copy of The Catcher in the Rye, and his life changes forever. Part social satire, part mystery, with a healthy dose of rock music (and angst), King Dork is one of our must-read favorites of the year."

My Review:

I loved this book! I loved it so much, I would so marry this book, if it were possible.

The book jacket and some reviews I read led me to believe this was a YA mystery novel, but really, this is a coming-of-age memoir about what its like to be a teenage boy at the very bottom of the high school social order. However, unlike many first-person narratives of teenage life, the author here pulls no punches when describing the violence and brutality teens inflict on each other, nor does he shy away from depicting casual drug use or sex. In this teen world, adults are brutish and dumb, fellow students are potential threats, school is in no sense educational, and rock music is god.

And it was funny. I especially loved the constant critique of other coming-of-age literary works like Catcher in the Rye, and the dead on understanding of high school cliques and social hierarchies. No one has super powers, no one wakes up prettier than they were the day before, no one is a movie star in disguise-- its just kids, navigating life, getting into trouble, doing the best they can for themselves.