Spanking Shakespeare by Jake Wizner
(Read on the Kindle app on my iPhone)
A modern-day Catcher in the Rye? Probably not. By Wizner’s Shakespeare Shapiro is certainly a direct descendant of Salinger’s self-absorbed protagonist. Shakespeare is whiny, petulant, pessimistic, and laugh-out-loud funny. He is a senior in high school and nothing in his life is going right:
-He is burdened with an awful name.
-He worries endlessly, about everything.
-He counts among his closest friends only two people—Katie, an angry alcoholic in combat boots and Neil who is obsessed with bowel movements.
-His younger brother has a far richer social life than he does.
-His dad drinks like a fish.
The list goes on and on. But mostly he worries about his senior memoir, a year-long writing assignment about his favorite subject—himself.
Wizner unflinchingly takes on all of the most embarrassing moments in a boy’s life and makes them fodder for his protagonist’s twisted, self-deprecating sense of humor. Nothing is off-limits (and I do mean nothing). There are moments when the over-privileged Shakespeare’s woe-is-me attitude is grating but the humor in this book is more than worth it. A dose of reality, provided by a struggling classmate, helps wake him from his self-pitying stupor and redeem him for the reader.
Recommended for grades 10-12.
By Mr. Doyle