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."


Anonymous said...

I didn't even get through this one, Becky (and hence, a la your other discussion, didn't review it). The narrator just annoyed me too much. I didn't care what happened to him. I can see him appealing to a certain audience, but I myself had other books that were a higher priority.

Becky said...


So glad I'm not the only one that felt that way. I was reading all the Amazon reviews which are just glowing of course saying it was the funniest book in the entire world...and how it was just so wonderful.


Anonymous said...

i dont know what your problem is i loved this book it was SO FUNNY

Corey said...

In the book that I read, the series of events in it did not really follow the traditional rise to the climax and then a decline. Instead it basically decribes the more important stuff that the main character goes through from day to day. Some of the climaxing events that I found in the story was him moving to a new town, his mother catching him reading porn, and also getting caught for "accidentally" stealing money from a store. The last event caused him to have to work volenteerily for a kitchen for homeless people. But I really liked when his mother caught him reading porn because I thought that was really funny. Some of the literary devices that the author uses to help build up the character is some of the stuff he says. Like if he is getting made fun of or in a confrontation, he will think of something clever to say to put the opposing person in their place. An example of this is when he was in a arguement with a girl in his class. Since it is still middle school and the girls are still "underdeveloped", he said she should join "The Iddy Bitty Titty Commitee". That made me seriously laugh out loud and I will probably be inclined to use that putdown in the future.