Tuesday, May 13, 2008

King Dork in a deck of cards.

Portman, Frank. King Dork. New York: Delacorte Press, 2006

: YA Fiction
Plot Summary:
Tom Henderson and his best (only) friend Sam Hellerman (they became friends from unbreakable Alphabetical order, and that's forever) spend most of their time avoiding the psychopathic normals and thinking of clever band names (instead of actually writing and practicing music.) When Tom finds a copy of his dead father's copy of "Catcher in the Rye" with a secret code found in the pages it turns his entire world upside down. There are some wacky hijinks, an accidental assault, a dangerous assault, and an actual useful therapist along the way.

Geographical Setting
: California (High School)
Time Period: Late 1990s
Age Level: 10th grade and up

Appeal Characteristics: Despite being a deeper character study and blatantly filled to the brim with 10th grade vocabulary terms this book is a fast-paced, (surprisingly)light, and humorous read. Tom Henderson is the anti-heroes anti-hero. The book deals with serious subjects, but humorously through the eyes of an introverted 14 year old. Tom parent's try hard, but fail to understand him. His best friend can't be trusted despite the sacred bonds of alphabetical order. Their band is never going to get off the ground and Tom has the worst and weirdest nickname ever. All of the elements of plot, setting, and style fit together nicely to form a brilliant character study. One of the best bits is character evolution, when new information or characters or settings come into play it is easy to see Tom integrating it into his character or the characters around him.

: Chbosky, Stephen. The Perks of Being a Wallflower. New York: Pocket Books, 1999.
Thematically and attitudinally these two books are extremely similar. The anti-hero coming into his own, the humor, the musical references, the first time sexual encounters are all very similar in these two books.

Red Flags
:language, sexual situations involving high school students, inept parenting, and violence. Don't look for any sort of actual conclusion to this book. Also, the now-trendy name dropping of 70s mod rock can be extremely tedious unless you are really into that era of music.

For more personal opinions on this book see my livejournal.

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