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29 June 2006 @ 10:33 am
Frank Portman's KING DORK (4.5 stars)  
BAND: Catch Her in the Rye

GUITAR: Frank Port Man Is A Genius




LOL! Which is about all I did while reading Frank Portman’s KING DORK. Besides wanting to initiate Reader’s Theatre and read passages aloud to my friends, family, or basically anyone within earshot. This clever parody of J.D. Salinger’s CATCHER IN THE RYE is packed with enough sarcastic humor to make Mad Magazine look like Highlights for Children.


Holden Caulfield, step aside for the new king in town: Tom Henderson, great American nobody, Chi-mo, Hender-fag, Sheepie, and King Dork. His Hillmont High School life is a combination of unsuccesses—from his exploits with girls, to his wannabe band that doesn’t even have a drummer and amps...or guitars, to his father killed in a hit and run (or is that just what they told everyone?), to his ground-proximity position on the social totum pole.


But when his alphabetical-order friend, Sam Hellerman, drags him to this party where he meets the mysterious fake-mod Fiona (who disappears and leaves him wanting), his life spirals into a humorously-obsessed scavenger hunt for the first girl he’s ever made out with. The spiral gets bigger when he finds an old copy of C.I.T.R. in a load of his Dad’s old books and discovers a secret code within the pages. The Catcher Code, or something. Tom’s desire to know more about his Dad, and making out with Fiona for that matter, leads him into experiences he never thought he’d have. Dead bodies, devil heads, shrinks, bloody noses, monks, a little red book, child molesters, laundry receipts, TIT, the Bible, police investigations, an accidental fight, and tranquilizers. Cause without that kind of stuff, life stays sort of typical.

For a book that's as random as it is strategic, fresh as it is a copy, ordinary as it is hilarious, and smallscale as it is worldchanging, it won't be dethroning CATCHER IN THE RYE anytime soon. It's just a half step away from that special something a novel can do to my insides. I don't even know I can put my finger on it, besides to say that I didn't have to think. But I laughed out loud till I started to wonder if people thought I was faking it. And Tom's forever enshrined in my brain right there next to Holden. Maybe therein lies its genius.

NOTE: I tried posting this review on Amazon.com like 5 times, and they kept sensoring me for various content issues inside the review. Go figure. They finally accepted it though, so apparently I cut out enough good things for them to take it.

If this book review was helpful, please vote for it at Amazon.
queen_of_ocd: stupervenusqueen_of_ocd on June 29th, 2006 06:40 pm (UTC)
I need to read King Dork! I've heard so many good things about it. I haven't seen it in stores or at the library, though... guess I'll have to order it.
The Blog of Author Jonathan Stephensjonstephens on June 29th, 2006 06:56 pm (UTC)
I suggest you bump it up near the top of your reading queue. It's worth it.
queen_of_ocd on June 29th, 2006 07:03 pm (UTC)
Will do! Thanks for the recommendation! :)
dancewriteredenzdream on June 29th, 2006 07:40 pm (UTC)
Gotta get it now. Thanks.
The Blog of Author Jonathan Stephensjonstephens on June 29th, 2006 10:01 pm (UTC)
cammykittycammykitty on June 29th, 2006 10:24 pm (UTC)
OMG -- too funny. I'll have to grab this one. Sounds irreverently and proudly bad. Bad meaning naughty naughty naughty. Thanks
The Blog of Author Jonathan Stephensjonstephens on June 29th, 2006 10:44 pm (UTC)
It's a riot.