Shakespeare Shapiro has always hated his name. His parents bestowed it on him as some kind of sick joke when he was born, and since then his life has been one embarrassing incident after another. As he enters his senior year of high school, Shakespeare s love life is nonexistent, his younger brother is maddeningly popular, and his best friend talks nonstop about his bowel movements. But Shakespeare will have the last laugh. He is chronicling every mortifying detail in his memoir, the writing project each senior must complete. And he is doing it brilliantly. For as much as he hates his name, Shakespeare is a good writer. And just maybe a prizewinning memoir will bring him respect, admiration, and a girlfriend or at least a prom date.
This bold and bawdy first novel introduces Shakespeare Shapiro, whose very name seems to destine him for a life of farce (that his parents offer changing but invariably embarrassing explanations for his whacko moniker merely compounds matters). Now that he's taking the memoir-writing class required of all seniors at Ernest Hemingway High, he seizes the chance to frame his life as a darkly comedic series of humiliations, from being born on Hitler's birthday ("Whenever I did anything wrong, my father would call me Adolf") to his father's blackmail techniques ("I'm about ten seconds away from telling you things [about our sex life] that will haunt you for the rest of your life," his father cheerfully threatens an 11-year-old Shakespeare) to his misadventures in masturbating. Wizner knows just how to set up his outrageous jokes and how far to push most (not all) of them; and nothing seems off-limits, neither religion nor sex nor bowel movements. This author demonstrates an equally sure approach to sober themes: as his memoir assignments win him increasing respect and interest from his classmates, Shakespeare slowly realizes that the role of comic victim is one he has chosen in order to avoid challenging himself. Exceptionally funny and smart. Ages 14-up. (Sept.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information