Monday, July 23, 2007
Exploits of A Reluctant Hero
Fergus, Maureen. 2007. Exploits of a Reluctant (But Extremely Goodlooking) Hero.
There were a few things I liked about this book. The main character wasn't one of them. It is told in first person narrative, and so if he is mentioned by name, I don't recall it...and I'm certainly not going to spend a lot of time searching the pages. The book is a series of his "taped" memoirs. The narrator gets in trouble constantly for his inappropriate behavior. And it is easy to see why. He is a typical "pig" of a thirteen year old boy on the verge of puberty. His interests are girlie magazines, fried chicken, and porn. He has a problem with authority figures. (Which shouldn't really come as a big surprise.)
The book is about how this boy "accidentally" becomes a hero for a week or so when he "accidentally" makes a stand about the local mission, the Holy Light Mission. His motivation? A cute girl. Yet somehow or other he ends up as one of the most visible supporters of keeping this soup kitchen open and funded. Will his half-hearted effort be successful? Will he finally learn something of value?
I enjoy some boy-books. For example, King Dork and The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl have their 'icky' boy moments where puberty is at work. But this book is just a little too much for me. Its humor is in all the wrong places--the bathroom. And for the most part this narrator is a complete jerk--to his parents, to his teachers, to his counselor, to his classmates. A glowing example of why junior high island should exist in the first place.
School Library Journal writes, "Fergus captures perfectly the voice of the unnamed 13-year-old narrator who is resolutely selfish and self-serving, prurient and rude, sarcastic and frequently indignant. With a penchant for girlie magazines and fried chicken, he is yearning for puberty and looking forward to Sex Ed class, since his father has not been much help in advising him."