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King Dork: Review

Title: King Dork
Author: Frank Portman
Release Date: April 2006
Published By: Delacorte Books
Pages: 352
Goodreads Rating: 3.64 stars

Review: Tom is your typical teenager, except not really. He battles through life with a sarcastic wit, such as deprecating what he calls the "Catcher cult" - those who extol the virtues of Catcher in the Rye. But when he finds his dead father's copy of the book, notes inscribed on the margins catch his eye and he soon discovers a wealth of conspiracy theories about how exactly his father died. Even to his surprise, though, amid all the crazy hypotheticals comes a very real cover-up.

I'm not sure why, but I anticipated KING DORK to be another cliche high school story with the dorky kid everyone makes fun of and his struggle for self-acceptance amid the queen bees and cruel jocks. Oh, how wrong I was. How very, very wrong. When the synopsis says "sarcastic wit", they weren't kidding. Tom narrates everything with a healthy dose of irony and hyperbole used to excellent effect, and there is never a moment in the story that doesn't wrench your heart and make you laugh at the same time.

It must be noted, though, that I can see why this book is rather controversial. The portrayal of women was, to say the least, less than flattering, but unlike others, I don't see the problem. Tom also exaggerated to great lengths regarding school lessons, classmates, and his family members, so there's no reason to get unhappy about his exaggerations with girls. That was part of the irony, and I'm sure was not meant to be offensive in any way.

It's been a long time since I've read such an intelligent and intricate read, and there is an incredible amount to analyze in this book. KING DORK is absolutely brimming with irony, wit, and humor, all mixed in with a heavy dose of emotion. Although not very long, this novel takes a while to get through if you really want to soak up every last bit of awesome packed in here, but it's worth it. I highly recommend this to anyone looking for something "different".


Cialina at said...

I remember reading this waaaaay back when and I remembered really enjoying it. I'm glad to hear that you liked it too. It makes me want to pick it up again and see if I'll still like it years later.

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