Senior year in high school can be incredibly stressful for some students but few are as nerve-wracking as Shakespeare Shapiro's in this book by Jake Wizner. Shakespeare is very bright, creative, and sensitive. And he suffers embarassment at every turn. My favorite part of the book relates his first experience with marijuana. He forgot that he was going out to dinner with his family and aunt. He made a terrible mistake of asking his younger brother for help getting through the meal without getting in trouble. Oh, sure! The rest of the book has excerpts from his senior memoir which gives us insight into this tortured boy's endless succession of embarassing events.
While I loved Shakespeare's sense of humor and his fantastic creativity, I was a bit uncomfortable with the frequency of episodes of self gratification that peppers this story. In the end, he becomes concerned about a girl in his class who refuses to share information about her life. She finally shares that her mother had recently died and she is struggling to help her father and brother keep together in a very desperate situation. Rather than pity her, he tries to offer his help and tries to persuade her to accept help from others. Wisely, he knows that she should be taking care of herself and not shouldering her father's responsibility.
I would cautiously recommend this book to someone who likes to read about gutsy, creative people. I think a student might be embarassed to know I read this book so I will not admit to anyone that I read this. So, don't ask me about it!
My rating for this book: +++