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Monday, June 07, 2010

The Screwed up Life of Charlie the Second by Drew Ferguson

Screwed Up Life of Charlie The SecondI've read about 80 pages of Screwed Up Life of Charlie The Second by Drew Ferguaon and I'm calling it quits due to gratuitous sex.  Last year it seems like a lot of bloggers were really loving it and I added it to my list. I requested a copy through Paperbackswap and then it sat on my shelves for a while unread.

Here's what I wrote on Friday morning:

Last night I read the first chapter. Now, I am not really a prude. I don't have a problem with sex in YA novels. Teenagers have sex and you're crazy to think they don't. They also drink and I feel the same way about it. (The sex actually bothers me LESS to tell the truth!)  I've only read the first chapter of this one, so it's true that I might be speaking out of turn, but it seems written to shock me. No, it's not that Charlie is gay, it's ALL the kids. There is not a thought or action on the page that is not about sex. I'll give it another chapter, but right now I just find it crude and feel like it's written like this for shock value. (Examples from the first chapter- all the boy's hard ons, a girl's pub-ic hair showing, girls tackling a boy (the new kid, even!) and reaching into his shorts, several instances of "spit or swallow", and on and on and on.
I wrote that much and then thought this might deserve it's own post, so saved it. In the meantime, I've read another 50 pages or so. While it's calmed down a bit, the book is still all about sex. In high school, this might have thrilled me and seemed taboo. As an adult, I find it a bit boring and repetitive.  I've skimmed a few other reviews and it seems that other people see this as a coming of age story, of a romance of sorts, or the story of a normal teenage boy's life (the focus on sex, that is.)  But I don't see anything but the sex. EVERY interaction with a peer- gay, straight, or unknown, has a sexual element.  Possibly I am missing something by not being a teenage boy, but there is nothing else going on. He's turned on by every boy he knows regardless of their orientation. Charlie's relationship, if you can call it that, with the boy he's dating is about nothing more than this being the first gay boy he's known.   If he were turned on by every girl he knew, and described it in such detail, I'd still be turned off by the book. In fact, he does include sexual elements of the girls, but his disdain for the entire sex comes through and find I don't much like Charlie.

The end result? I have better books to waste my time on.

For other YA written by men see my reviews on:
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (review here)
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher (review here)

For other YA that include sex:
Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols (review here)
 Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway (review here)

In my defense, I love a good romance novel. I love a good YA novel with a romantic turn, and I love the stories of that first true love. I love tension in a book. This one has none of that.

Have you read this one? What did you think? Can you give me a compelling reason to continue?  The argument that "this is how teen boys ARE" holds no ground with me. I know teen boys and they do, occasionally, think about other things. I have brothers.  I don't see anything to this story beyond a horny teenager (and probably a horny author.)

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  1. The sad thing is that it's probably the way some teens live these days. I was shocked by some of the stories my son told me when he was in high school.

  2. I think there is just more emphasis on sex these days, period.

    My son will be 12 in July and he does seem to be a bit more mature than some of the other boys his age but he is already thinking about girls "that" way and it totally freaks me out! He says he can't help it!

    Maybe you are so focused on the sex because that's all there is. Meaning, it's just lacking in plot.

  3. Haahaa! I love the candidness of your review! Way to be honest! :-)


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