2007: 160. King Dork

“It started with a book.  If I hadn’t discovered it when and how I did, everything would have turned out differently.  But because of it my sophomore year at Hillmont High ended up way more interesting and eventful and weird than it was ever supposed to be.”

King Dork, Frank Portman

This is the kind of book that you keep reading about as one of the best books you’ve read in a long time, and you think oh, lord, enough with the hype and then you read it and it is killer and awesome and better than what people said.  Well, if you read Bookslut and Bookshelves of Doom, anyway.  This book is the book that Special Topics in Calamity Physics wishes it was, and I don’t know why King Dork is young adult fiction and Peshel’s book was adult fiction, when this book is logically consistent and covers the same material* in a much more believable, meaningful and non-hackneyed way. And, where Special Topics was like dynasty for the high school set (or, really, a rip-off of The Secret History), King Dork is believable and real, while still being crazy hilarious.  And it manages to be funny without being stupid and sitcommy (a fault that I Love You, Beth Cooper, sometimes succumbed).  In short, this is book is the better distillation of a bunch of books I basically liked at the time, but wished were better.  And this one is.  OMG, go read it, guys.

The plot, by the way, is the story of Tom Henderson (aka King Dork, Chi-Mo, Henderfag and Sheepie), an outsider trying to make his way through high school as best he can, while trying to survive the baby-boomers and avoid the Catcher in the Rye fanatics.  If he could solve the mystery of his father’s death, and also meet up with the elusive Fiona, that would be super, and, along the way he’ll hopefully find the perfect band name.  This book is very funny, insightful about what it’s like to survive high school and exposes some of the nonsense about the Salinger cult - what’s not to like?


Recommended for:  People who like to read books - honestly, I am not sure who wouldn’t like this book.  Maybe fuddy-duddies who hate fiction, and people who were born before the baby boomers.  But that is it.


*i.e., solving the mystery of our parents, and being an outsider.


Date/Place Completed: 10/15/07; D.C.

Categories:  Fiction, Library Book (alas! I need my own copy!)

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017