Hello! I wanted to start another type of book post, one that’s a little less formal than my reviews. I’ll call it a book discussion and probably do it for books that aren’t recent and aren’t being promoted. Maybe I’ll even do some of these in tandem with my proper reviews, exploring a certain issue within them ... and feel free to join in in the comments, I’ll take whatever you say into account!
This particular specimen came from a shelf in my room reserved for books I felt ...meh about, the ones that I feel deserve a re-read if I’m ever in the mood for them. That’s what happened with this book. It did move up the ratings chart on the second reading (because I could actually understand a lot of it now that I couldn’t at eleven or twelve) from two stars to three point five.
So. King Dork is basically a big mystery involving this teenage boy’s dead father, Catcher in the Rye, lots of giving out about high school and, well, teenage angst all over the place. Not a love triangle in sight – wait. There was one, actually, and it ormed a pretty big part of the story. It just wasn’t a carbon copy of all the other YA ones, and that made it less annoying.
To be quite honest, I didn’t really care about the plot that much (I’m seeing a pattern here). I was much more interested in the really cool substories and funny little details. Yes, I wanted the mystery the whole thing was building up to to be solved. Obviously – the author certainly spent so much narrative time on it, it really had to be the major theme.
One subplot that I found distasteful at twelve but well, interesting (hey, it’s good to know how the male psyche works) now was the one with King Dork’s (admittedly limited) interactions with girls. But believe me, he really should’ve been older in that book. As a 14-year-old (!) he went WAY too far. Just ... go with it, you’ll enjoy the book more.
Then there was my favourite part, his ‘band’. He and his best friend Sam Hellerman are in a ‘band’ together – they make up a new one all the time and devise a band name, album names and covers. The only thing they don’t do is actually write/play songs. Uh oh. I must say though, some of those names were hilarious – they’re even included all together in a handy section in the back! Here are a few great examples, all quotes from pgs. 327 – 331 of King Dork.
Some Delicious Sky, aka SDS
Treble and Vocals: Squealie
Thick Bottom and Industrial Arts: Sambidextrous
GUITAR: Monsignor Eco-Druid
BASS AND INDUSTRIAL SABOTAGE: The Grim Recycler
DRUMS, PERCUSSION, ACOUSTIC AND SEMI-ACOUSTIC DRUMS, CYMBALS, TAMBOURINES, COWBELLS, CHIMES, GONGS, TOMS, SHAKER EGGS, BONGOS, STICK CLICKS, WOOD BLOCKS, PERCUSSION, PERCUSSION AND MORE PERCUSSION: Todd Panchowski.
FIRST ALBUM: Our Drummer is Kind of Full of Himself
GUITAR: Comrade Gal-hammer
BASS AND EMBROIDERY: Our Dear Leader
REAL FANCY AND IMPORTANT PERCUSSION: The Lonely Dissident
I like how you can remember the story of the book from seeing a band time, each representing a point in King Dork’s life (there are 23 over the course of the story).
There were loads of funny little things that popped up around the place. Like teachers mispronouncing things (a theme that’s carried through to the mispronounced glossary at the end to comic effect) and so, so much Catcher in the Rye in different forms. Another bonus for King Dork is that it was very light reading – fairly big text and spaced pages, great for a break between heavier books. And the glowing recommendation from John Green can’t hurt.
I do have one gripe that dropped it 1.5 stars in my mind. The mystery isn’t solved! Threads start to come together and it all looks really promising and then in the end it’s utterly inconclusive. What a pity.
Still, quite an enjoyable read, if not very tasteful because it so very realistically portrays a teenage boy’s mind. Just go into it for fun, if you go into it at all.