Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Exploits of a Reluctant (But Extremely Goodlooking) Hero

Exploits of a Reluctant (But Extremely Goodlooking) Hero, by Maureen Fergus

Young YA/Canadian/Ladlit

In this first time author's laugh out loud cassette tape diary of an unnamed thirteen year old boy, we get a glimpse into the inner workings of the pubescent mind. And it isn't pretty. The hero is a self-centered, velour wearing, socially inept, sex-obsessed, fried chicken-obsessed little misanthrope, with a secret heart of gold.

Along the lines of Alice I Think, this is a comedic look at the angsts of puberty and adolescents. As the story begins, our hero tells us that he is being forced to create a tape recorded diary to curbe his overactive verbal energy. But, as the heir to his grandfather's plumbing store fortune, The House of Toilets, he isn't too concerned, he'll be a man of leisure anyway. Then the family learns that the flagship store is in trouble, and they move to Winnipeg to save the day. Once there, our hero finds himself in hot water when he inadvertently steals the store's petty cash. His punishment is to volunteer at the Holy Light Mission, a food bank and soup kitchen.

In the new town, he also finds himself in trouble when he compliments his teacher for being a Fine Full-figured woman, and when, in a rather hilarious moment, he buys his sexy psychologist a mug for christmas that read "Doctors Do it Clinically", which he stuffs with lipstick and stockings.

The story does have its serious side. After a prank gone horribly wrong, the Holy Light Mission is threatened with closure. Our hero must then decide whether to take the easy route of letting the mission close, or the more difficult route of helping to save it. That's where the hero bit comes in.

The supporting cast are, for the most part, a lot of fun. Seen through the eyes of our misguided and clueless little hero their actions often appear odd, but that's where a lot of the comedy comes from. This book will likely be well received by the 13-14 crew. There's a lot of talk about sex, but it is the sex talk of a kid who has no clue what he's talking about (even if he does like to look at porn magazines). The real action of the story is pretty innocent, and thoroughly amusing and satisfying. I would recommend it.

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