Friday, April 12, 2013

King Dork

A high school friend introduced me to early Lookout-era Green Day. I loved the energetic bubble-gum pop-punk music. From there, I discovered Mr. T Experience, another great Lookout pop-punk band. They had the same energy, but with humorously ironic lyrics. A few years ago, I read on Dr. Frank's blog that he was writing a book, but it took me until now to finally start it. I plowed through it in a day and was not disappointed.

"King Dork" is a sophomore in high school. However, that is a name that only he uses to call himself, but that doesn't matter because most of the novel takes place within his mind. He considers himself a dork, who lives apart from the "normal" people in high school. He has only one friend, and the two of them have a band. (They are great at creating band and song names, but lacking in the music department.) He is fairly smart, but fairly anonymous. He sees himself near the bottom of the school pecking order, and often finds himself getting beat up.

We find out that his father died a few year ago and that he now lives with his mom, hippie step-dad and younger sister. He finds some of his dad's old books and attempts to decode secret messages in them. He also ends up attending a party with one of his friends. (We later find out this was part of a ruse.) The party and the book end up leading him on two parallel quests that might converge (or might not.) In the processes, he manages to enter in to relationships with girls, topple a crime ring and maybe find out more about his father's death.

I loved the style of the book. The youth culture described seems right on. He manages to get a timeless view of the relationships and the faux-education that takes place. (Yes, AP classes really are a lot easier, due in part to lack of busy-work and better teachers.) The narrator criticism the obsession with "Cather in the Rye" and "hippie elitism" and encourages self discovery. It delves in to PG-13 level vulgarity and content, but doesn't drive you crazy with it. It is a "Holden Caulfield" for the rest of us.

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