Dear reader, life is too short for crap books.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

"High School is the Penalty for Transgressions Yet to Be Specified"

King Dork by Frank Portman

The funny thing about King Dork is that it unmasks once and for all the Catcher cult (i.e. adults who came of age in the 1960s and are forever foisting Catcher in the Rye onto new generations, oblivious to its annoyingness and use of ridiculous phrases like 'give her the time'), and in the process of doing so, creates a cult of its own.

Ordinarily snarky and difficult to impress reviewers have been all but offering to have Frank Portman's babies over King Dork.

But, you know, they're not wrong. It's pretty awesome. You've got these two loser guys who are in a band. Except it's the kind of band where you make up the name and album covers and everyone's band names and song titles, but never actually, you know, buy a guitar. Then there are a bunch of mysteries. Like the murder/accidental death/suicide of the narrator's father, the answer to which is surely hidden in the notes scrawled in the margins of an old copy of Catcher in the Rye. Or the fake-mod girl who makes out with our hero at a party, only to disappear from the face of the earth, if she ever existed at all.

It's also one of the few novels I've read that contains an appendix and a glossary, which are, by themselves, worth the price of admission. Sample definitions:

"bubblegum (BOOB le-GYOOM): this is, in the end, more or less the Lord's music."

"Thin Lizzy (TEEN LEZ-ie): Ireland's greatest contribution to Western civilization. The ninth-greatest rock and roll band of all time."

So anyway, if you liked... Rock Star, Superstar by Blake Nelson or if you liked Catcher in the Rye when you were 15, then read it again at 21 and realized it was horrible, this book is for you.

1 comment:

Gwen said...

I didn't read "Catcher in the Rye" til I was in college. It's all supposed to be the voice of a generation, and somehow get to the heart of teen alienation or something.

I thought it was boring. I have admitted this to people at various times, always to be severly chastised for my lack of ability to see how totally awesome it is. I have spent much of my life worried that I somehow lacked the ability to appreciate Literature (I had the same vague feeling when I read "The Satanic Verses" and wasn't that impressed).

I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who fails to see that this is The Greatest Book Ever.