Book Seven: I Love You, Beth Cooper

I Love You, Beth Cooper, Larry Doyle

Denis Cooverman, our protagonist, is class valedictorian of BGHS, and in his graduation speech he throws caution to the wind and declares, "I love you, Beth Cooper," the girl he has consistently sat behind and had an unrequited crush on through all of school. Denis is captain of the debate team, while Beth is head cheerleader, which, in the world of teen movies, means their love is not destined to be. This is the impetus for all the action in this novel that follows Denis and his possibly gay best friend, Rich, through their evening of wacky hijinks. The abundance of pop culture references in this book might have initially turned me off, but about half way through I realized I just needed to relax and enjoy this book for what it is, which is essentially the literary form of all the teen movies it references. And being a lover of teen movies, who am I to balk at that? Each chapter begins with an illustration of what our hero, Denis Cooverman, looks like at that point in the evening (drawn awesomely by cartoonist Evan Dorkin), and is accompanied by a quote from some teen movie or another. These are the quotes that I picked up on, though if I gave it even a little more thought I may have gotten more:

Ghost World
Say Anything
Napoleon Dynamite
Breakfast Club
Back to the Future
Pretty in Pink
Sixteen Candles
Fast Times at Ridgemont High

I can only guess that the ones I didn't get came from movies like Porky's, American Pie, or Weird Science. The thing that's funny is, this is a book about contemporary teens, and yet most of the references are so old, would these kids even have gotten them? Sure, Napoleon Dynamite or maybe even Rushmore, but the others? Which makes me think, am I the prime demographic for this book? Maybe change my gender and I would even be a more perfect target. But, the thing is, this is really a funny book. I laughed out loud and even read some parts to Chris. Larry Doyle has, after all, written for "The Simpsons," "Beavis and Butt-Head," and, oh hey, the film adaptation of this very book! Way to bring it all back around to its self-referential self.


Anonymous bellcurves said...

xoxoxo. i think about you, too, and hope you're doing well! it always makes me so happy to see your updates/book reviews over here. and, better yet, you've treated me to three of them in one week! also, i hope you're getting over that cold (flu?) and staying warm and drinking tons of tea.

March 19, 2008 at 6:30 PM  

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