Monday, May 28, 2007

I Love You, Beth Cooper by Larry Doyle

Here’s a rarity, as it’s about words as opposed to sound, but I just finished reading what may be the most laugh out loud, funny book I’ve ever managed to devour, and when I say laugh out loud, I actually mean it…I was in public, so there are witnesses.

A few days ago, I was in your local neighborhood literary superstore and happened to stumble across, I Love You, Beth Cooper by Larry Doyle, a one time writer for The Simpsons, sitting on this amazingly overcrowded table. It had a snazzy orange and white cover with a rather amusing illustration, a weird yet eye catching title and the jacket write up made the book sound like a mix between every John Hughes movie ever made (prior to his preteen phase) and a train wreck you just couldn’t look away from. Needless to say, having watched a certain movie by Mr. Hughes so many times I could recite the dialogue on command, I was sold. So I bought I Love You, Beth Cooper and, for one of the few times ever, a purchase ended up being everything it was billed to be…and more.

From start to finish the book was hysterical, sometimes relentlessly so. It follows uber-geek, Denis Cooverman (”The Coove” to his best, and possibly gay, friend and “Penis” to absolutely everyone else) through his highly unanticipated high school valedictorian speech and all of the repercussions that come with it when he decides to cast off regret and tells everyone who’s listening, “I Love You, Beth Cooper!”

While embarrassingly funny (I don’t recommend reading it in a packed coffee shop if you really don’t like to draw attention to yourself) I Love You, Beth Cooper is not just a lunatic joy ride without any grasp of reality. Denis Cooverman is identifiable, relatable and genuine…unless you’re the knuckle-dragger whose girl he just tried to woo, in which case, I’m actually surprised you can read at all. Along with all the hysterics and insanity of what is, admittedly, an entirely over the top graduation night and next morning, there’s also poignancy, friendship and, well…hot cheerleader types who really wouldn’t have given you the time of day in high school anyway…uh, but I digress.

I Love You, Beth Cooper is a truly funny and brilliant read. It’s quick, witty and never dry. Larry Doyle has crafted a great story that shows its not always about being who you’re expected to be, but who you can be that makes all the difference. Sure, you may say to yourself that there are already classics in this genre and I’d have to say you’re right. Most of them are on film and have names like Sixteen Candles, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Some Kind of Wonderful and Say Anything. But, there’s always room for another name on that list and I Love You, Beth Cooper fits right in.

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Linda said...

hi Joe. Nice to meet you all today. Not sure what other way to get in touch other than leaving a comment here - I don't have a my space account or an AIM account. Going to the comet to see a friend play tonight (Saturday) if you guys are interested. Or another time. Always up for a good Muse show, or a middle of the afternoon margarita... ymmm. and love a good critic, so glad to have found you out here in the virtual world...

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