Christy Valentine, June 10, 2009 (view all comments by Christy Valentine)
I wasn't quite sure what to expect from a book that features Hayden Panetierre Photoshopped on its cover (for the tie-in edition, anyway), but I think perhaps going in without expectations was the best way to do it.
Simply put, this is one of the funniest books I have ever read. It's a pretty simplistic story found in a million teen comedies: nerdy boy loves popular girl. However, Larry Doyle took a very basic, John Hughes-esque premise and turned it into a very smart, very funny mediation on adolescent love. Some of the hijinks of Denis and Beth's graduation night are ridiculously over-the-top, but the heart of the novel is Denis's realization that he has no real idea who Beth Cooper is, despite his infatuation with her. It's a very common situation, of course, but Doyle makes it poignant, without layering on the schmaltz.
Doyle's prose is simplistic, but his dialogue is fantastic. It's witty in an honest way, untainted by the too-fast style of writers like Diablo Cody. Overall, the tone of the novel- and its dialogue- reminds me of a cross between David Sedaris and Judd Apatow. It's crude, wacky, and ridiculous- but still manages to be realistically emotionally-affecting.
I can't recommend a novel more.
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squiresj, June 1, 2008 (view all comments by squiresj)
I really don't know. I came here to write a review on the book cover. IT catches my eye and led me to read the rest of the synopsis. So it made me interested in the book.
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"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"Former TV writer and magazine editor Doyle frenetically chronicles in his debut a long night of goofy teenage antics. After concluding he has nothing to lose, geekazoid valedictorian Denis Cooverman declares, during his graduation speech, his love for Beth Cooper, the way hot chief cheerleader. He is amazed to discover Beth is not completely repulsed by his feelings for her, although her army boyfriend, Kevin, is enraged. Beth, implausibly, later shows up at Denis's graduation party with two interchangeable sidekicks, Cammy and Treece. The party comprises exactly two guests, Denis (aka 'The Coove') and his possibly gay best friend, Rich. Once Denis and Rich recover from the shock of being in the presence of pretty girls, they attempt to party, but the awkward celebration is cut short when Kevin arrives with his bruiser friends. Denis and Co. make their first of what will be several escapes, the circumstances of each providing Denis with evidence that Beth isn't the flawless goddess he'd imagined her to be. Overly rapid pacing, unlikely turns of events and quirky, funny dialogue reveal Doyle's TV roots (he has written for The Simpsons and Beavis and Butt-head). Doyle wrings from his typecast crew just enough teenage agony and ecstasy to keep readers interested." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
by Tom Perrotta, bestselling author of Little Children,
"[An] instant classic, right up there with great end-of-school landmarks like American Graffiti and Dazed and Confused."
by Vanity Fair,
"In the flagrantly funny I Love You, Beth Cooper...Larry Doyle gives the coming-of-age novel a swirly."
by Dave Barry,
"If this book doesn't make you laugh out loud, something is wrong with you."
by Kurt Anderson, author of Heyday,
"Larry Doyle has created a perfect literary hot fudge sundae: sweet, naughty, delicious, irresistible."
by New York Times Book Review,
"Larry Doyle gives a 21st-century gloss to this familiar tale....[W]ickedly funny."
"Fresh, sweet, seriously funny."
by School Library Journal,
"[A] quick, funny book with a protagonist readers can root for even as they groan at his geekiness."
by Entertainment Weekly,
"[T]his side-splitting novel of adolescence is a classic teen movie waiting to be made."
Instead of a typical graduation speech, Denis Cooverman stands up in front of his classmates and professes his love for the most popular girl in school. Complications ensue, and Denis comes of age overnight.
In the tradition ofPersepolisandAmerican Born Chinese, a wise and funny high school heroine comes of age.
Tina M., sophomore, is a wry and endearing observer of the cliques and mores of Yarborough Academy. (andldquo;The name makes it sound fancier than all the public schools in the area. Youandrsquo;d really think the Prince of Wales attended.andrdquo;) And of the foibles of her Southern California intellectual Indian family. (andldquo;Just so you know, my parents have never tried to lock me into a child marriage.andrdquo;) Sheandrsquo;s on a first-name basis with Jean-Paul Sartre, the result of an English honors class assignment to keep an andldquo;existential diary.andrdquo;
Keshni Kashyapandrsquo;s smart and funny graphic novel packs in (existential) high school dramaandmdash;from Tinaandrsquo;s getting dumped by her smart-girl ally to a kiss on the mouth (Tinaandrsquo;s mouth, but nottechnicallyher first kiss) from a cute skateboarder, Neil Strumminger. And it memorably answers the pressing question: Can an English honors assignment be one fifteen-year-old girlandrsquo;s path to enlightenment?
The story of a high school heroine--funny, wise, and reminiscent of Marjane Satrapi--negotiating a trying spring semester at her southern California prep school
Tina M., sophomore, is a wry and endearing observer of the cliques and mores of Yarborough Academy ("The name makes it sound fancier than all the public schools in the area. You'd really think the Prince of Wales attended"). And of the foibles of her intellectual Indian family ("Just so you know, my parents have never tried to lock me into a child marriage"). She's on a first-name basis with Jean-Paul Sartre, the result of an English honors class assignment to keep an "existential diary."
The plot thickens as Tina is dumped by her best friend and smart-girl ally, forcing her to embark on a life of eating school lunch (existentially) alone during the week, and of weekends being dragged to family parties at various new-money chalets in LA's Indian enclaves. Until the lead in the school play goes to Tina, among other astonishing events.
Is a kiss on the mouth--Tina's mouth, but not technically her first kiss--from cute skateboarder Neil Strumminger be the meaning of existence? Can an English honors assignment be one fifteen-year-old girl's path to enlightenment?
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