Sep 15, 2011

Review - The Downside of Being Up by Alan Lawrence Sitomer

The Downside of Being Up by Alan Lawrence Sitomer
September 15th 2011 from Putnam Juvenile

Thirteen-year-old Bobby Connor is a normal adolescent boy - at least he hopes he is - just trying to survive middle school. But it seems he's being foiled at every turn, and even his own body is conspiring against him. And when his math teacher is seriously injured from the shock and fright of witnessing just how out of control Bobby's changing adolescent body is getting, he starts to worry he's anything but normal.

Faced with expulsion from school for violating the student handbook code, Bobby opts for therapy - Correctional Erectional Therapy. It's official: Bobby Connor is not normal. But in this uproarious and heartfelt novel, he's going to do his darndest to make it seem that he is . . . or maybe just try to make it through middle school.

If you need a go-to reference for slang words for the male reproductive organ, just buy this book! Tired of using the terms: banana, wang, peen, donger, and wiener? Then get out your highlighter and start on page one with words like: weinerschnitzel, pole, south-of-the-border sausage, and baloney bomb. I literally laughed my tail off every five seconds over these terms - and there were literally a million of them! I am impressed with the diverse use of vocabulary, and wonder how Sitomer came up with some of these.

Bobby is a typical thirteen-year-old boy going through the same hardships as any other middle schooler. His family is nuts, his sister hates him, and he has zero play with the ladies. Like, zero. To top that all off, his best friend is the dorkiest kid and the laughing stock of the school. Well, until Bobby himself takes that #1 spot when he sports wood in math class sending the teacher into hysterics. Hysterics turns to into falling and falling turns into breaking bones. The teacher is shipped out in an ambulance, and Bobby is shipped to the principal. There, he finds himself in "Correctional Erectional Therapy." Yes, it's totally a real thing. ;)

This book is full of satire, sarcasm, and of course, ridicule. Bobby struggles with his untimely unipod throughout the entire story and catches flack (and punches to the garbanzo beans) from everyone in school. Just when he resigns to the fact that his reputation is ruined for life, he meets the beautiful Allison. And, as irony would have it, Allison is the new math teacher's daughter. Poor Bobby just can't win!

Every single character in this book is over the top! The best friend, Finkelstein, makes me laugh every time he appears. His laugh and the way he says girls want to "taste his taste buds"  are pure entertainment. Finkelstein is obsessed with girls and has these absurd outlooks on women and want they need and want. Again, quality entertainment. Throw in a chronically naked grandfather with no filter on his mouth and a neurotic mother who simply cannot keep up with "The Joneses," and you have yourself a hilarious tale about the pains of growing up.

Boys will be signing up to get their own library card just to read this book!

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You can find Sitomer on his website and on Twitter
You can catch Sitomer at the Tweens Book Festival in Houston on October 29th.