Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Spanking Shakespeare, by Jake Wizner

Shakespeare Shapiro is straddled with a horrible name, a best friend who is obsessed with his own bowel movements, a younger brother (Gandhi) who is massively more popular, and a complete inability to get laid. But he does have an amazing way with words and that charming skill might land him the senior memoir prize (or even more). Alternating between recounting his senior year failures and providing flashbacks on his life and dysfunctional family through excerpts from his memoir, Shakespeare reveals a true talent for ribald wit, which the Bard would have truly appreciated. In the end, he does what any horny 18 year old boy should do ... enroll at Vassar College.

OK, I was being a bit cheeky on that last comment (although it does happen and I truly appreciate the plug for my Alma Mater - and I am sure that Shakespeare would enjoy a career as a Vasshole). This book is laugh out loud funny (which is not recommended on a plane, like where I was reading it). Shakespeare is clever and endearing in an obnoxious 18 year-old male way. As someone who gets occasionally chided for being unable to know what a real teen girl goes through (for the obvious reason that I was there), I feel a greater confidence in saying that Jake has nailed the boy-side of the equation rather nicely (and doesn't do that bad of a job with the girls either IMHO). Any book with chapter titles like "The Time I Watched a Pornographic Movie with My Mentally Unstable Grandmother" and "The Time I Saw My Father Get Drunk and Act like a Complete Idiot" wins at least special mention. This is a special book. Recommended.

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