Synopses & Reviews
Sometimes, it's just easier to think I'm not the freak. I'm just in an alien world.
Being Charles James Stewart, Jr., AKA Charlie the Second, means never "fitting in." Tall, gangly and big-eared, he could be a poster boy for teenage geeks. An embarrassment to his parents (he's not too crazy about them, either), Charlie is a virtual untouchable at his high school, where humiliation is practically an extracurricular activity. Charlie has tried to fit in, but all of his efforts fail on a glorious, monumental scale. He plays soccer-mainly to escape his home life but isn't accepted by his teammates who basically ignore him on the field. He still confuses the accelerator with the brake pedal and as a result, has not only failed his driving exam six times, but also almost killed himself and his driving instructor. He can't work on his college essay without writing a searing tell-all. But what's freaking Charlie out the most is that while his hormones are raging and his peers are pairing off, he remains alone with his fantasies.
But all of this is about to change when a new guy at school begins to liven things up on the soccer team and in Charlie's life. For the first time in his seventeen years, Charlie will learn how it feels to be a star, well, at least off the field. But Charlie discovers that even cool guys have problems as he embarks on a deliciously sexy, risk-filled journey from which there is no turning back.
"A gay Lutheran teen, Charles James Stewart II (aka 'Smart-ass') chronicles a very memorable senior year at South High in Crystal Lake, Ill. Named after his aspiring state's attorney dad (whom he calls 'First'), Charlie uses journal entries to chart his feelings with typical teen angst: griping about his parents, describing his unrequited passion for straight friend Bink Binkmeyer and skewering school. His less private tirades soon land him in trouble with Mrs. Bailey, a New Agey English teacher, and with icky fellow student Kyle Weir, a homophobic anti-Semite. The most hilariously heated entries depict falling in love for the first time with Rob Hunt (whose mother, Kathy, is in quite serious condition with ALS). Throughout the diary, Charlie keeps revising his college application essay, and it's not easy for him to watch his parents' marital troubles during First's campaign or just to be a gay 17. Ferguson's exuberant portrait successfully re-creates coming-of-age's dizzy heat. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"A terrific debut novel. Drew Ferguson is one of the most authentic new voices in contemporary fiction." Steve Kluger, author of Almost Like Being in Love and My Most Excellent Year
"Drew Ferguson's debut novel is equally funny and smart, and will strike eerily familiar chords in anyone who remembers the edgy, frustrating, sex-obsessed days and nights of high school. You'll love his narrator, Charlie, and you'll also love this book." Scott Heim, author of Mysterious Skin and We Disappear
"Look out Napoleon Dynamite, here comes Charlie the Second! In this page-turning laugh riot, Drew Ferguson captures the voice of today's teen conquering the daily drudge that is life in the Midwest. Colorfully candid, unapologetically explicit, yet touchingly tender, The Screwed-Up Life of Charlie the Second serves as a reminder to those who've escaped from small town USA as to the reasons why!" Frank Anthony Polito, author of Band Fags!
"The Screwed-Up Life of Charlie the Second is a funny, honest and engaging book, told with attitude and style. Drew Ferguson is a talented writer with great comic timing, and an eye for the absurd." Bart Yates, author of Leave Myself Behind and The Brothers Bishop
"Written in a fast-paced diary format Ferguson has created a beautiful and moving novel that literally has you laughing out loud one moment and shedding tears the next." Arthur Wooten, author of On Picking Fruit and Fruit Cocktail
Ferguson's debut is a hysterically funny, fresh, and distinctive novel that perfectly captures the voice of a teenage boy.
About the Author
Drew Ferguson received his MFA in creative writing from Columbia College, Chicago. His work has appeared in Blithe House Quarterly, The James White Review, Hair Trigger, The Great Lawn, and other publications. He currently resides in Chicago.