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March 9, 2012

In ten to fifteen minutes I need to be wrapping up and heading off to bed in order to combat the misery and woe that will be mine after a 5 a.m. wake up buzzer.

Yet, I can’t help but marvel at all the hard work of a serious nature that’s been taking place while I’ve been out foraging in the woods: billboards coming down, kids being put first, a dude having a lunch with his mom that doesn’t involve some sort of guilt trip.

Damn.

That’s some fine work people, and, frankly, I’m fairly exhausted just reading about it. Thanks for making sure I had to follow all these goings-on with a lame-ass post about some sort of frivolous shit.

Actually, that wouldn’t be entirely accurate. You see, I recently attended the school book fair and sprinkled in with the mega-best-selling kids books was a gem we hadn’t encountered yet. I’m a sucker for an underdog story and we found an unpolished nugget in K.L. Going’s “Fat Kid Rules The World.”

Yeah, yeah, the title could have been better, but the words inside more than make up for that one shortcoming. My kids loved the tale of 17-year-old Troy Billings, who wastes no time engaging you as he’s about to step off a platform and into the path of an oncoming subway train on the first few pages.

This kid is the everyman, a mishmash of all the beloved fat kid characters that seem mandatory in nearly every single coming of age story we’ve seen. He’s big, he’s sad and he’s going to end his pain, until he meets up with a mildly unsavory character by the name of Curt MacRae, an aging, washed-up post-punk type who can still make magic with a guitar.

The back and forth between these two is typical, yet endearing, with Troy learning the drums to fulfill some sort of half-baked rock and roll fantasy on the part of both guys, but you stick with him and watch him find some self-worth.

I confess that I was waiting for the punchline where Troy lost a hundred pounds from all the difficult percussion work and Curt cleaned up his act and gained some weight, but it never came. You’ve got to love a book about a kid who doesn’t have to change everything about himself to reach the final wave in Campbell’s hero cycle.

When I did a little research (not my favorite thing) I found out that this book came out long ago, but it’s worth picking up if you’ve got adolescent kids in the house looking for a good read.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 9, 2012 10:06 am

    Did you know it’s coming out as a movie soon? Matthew Lillard directed it. And the guy who plays Troy (Jacob Wysocki) is also in “Boner Police: The Movie,” also coming out this year. Actually, I just wanted to mention that one for it’s awesome title. But while reading about Wysocki, I cam across another movie he’s in with John C. Reilly called “Terri”, and the trailer of it makes it look incredible. I’m going to have to look it up with weekend. Come on Netflix!

    Thanks for sharing this awesome find, Duffy! And for the record, it’s my dad who is the Guilt-Master, not my mom. 😉

    Peace,
    Shannon

  2. March 10, 2012 9:31 pm

    Can you elaborate on why you think the title is a problem? Personally I can’t see a problem with it so I am curious as to what you are getting from it.

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