I Love You, Beth Cooper - Larry Doyle

The earth-killing machine was painted black diamond, murkier than pure black and slightly more frightening, named for the insane ski slopes and not, as Denis might have guessed, for the moon gem Eclipso used to possess Superman in Action Comics #826 (Denis no longer collected comic books, and hardly ever went through his sixteen boxes of meticulously Mylared back issues, arranged by publisher and title, but AC #826—who wouldn't know that?).

So, I heard about this book, and then they made it into a movie, which I'd hoped to see because the book sounded like a funny idea. And then the movie got poor reviews ... and then I spotted the book at Ann's house and decided to borrow it and give it a shot anyway. (As it turns out, it was originally a screenplay idea anyway, but Doyle couldn't get anyone to bite; when he got a call from a literary agent asking if he had a novel to pitch, he sent this instead. The book did pretty well; the movie apparently didn't do quite as well.)

The short summary: Denis Cooverman, high school valedictorian and extreme geek, uses his valediction speech to finally to proclaim his love for Beth Cooper, head cheerleader and the object of his infatuation for the past five years. He also takes the time to make some frank-but-unpleasant comments to many of his other classmates, the sort of thing you'd only say if you knew you didn't have to deal with the consequences.

Of course, the rest of the book is about Denis dealing with the consequences: most particularly, when (a) he discovers that Beth actually has an Army boyfriend named Kevin (who always appears with his two stooges), and (b) Beth decides to show up at his doorstep for a "party" that evening. It's a mixture of all the '80s teen comedies: Denis and his dorky best friend Rich spend the evening running from Kevin and finding out that Beth Cooper is not the girl they thought she was.

It's a pretty funny book and (as evidenced by the quote above) very geeky. It's also (in the tradition of teen comedies) fairly raunchy and sometimes just downright gross. Denis gets a whole lot of abuse poured on him from start to finish, but at the same time you figure things are going to turn out all right in the end. At least, by some definition of "all right."

I thought it was a fun throwback to high school and enjoyed most of it; it's not very long so it didn't take me much time to finish it. Robyn started and was immediately put off by the description of Denis' copious sweating at the beginning of the book. Like I said, it's a bit gross, and I'd say it's definitely more of a guy book than a girl book. Still, if you're feeling up to re-living some of the awkwardness of high school, mixed with some Hollywood outrageousness, this might be the book for you.

Fed to jonathan's brain | September 16, 2009 | Comments (0)


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