Rainer Maria Rilke

"Live a while in these books, learn from them what seems to you worth learning, but above all love them. This love will be repaid you a thousand and a thousand times, and however your life may turn,-it will, I am certain of it, run through the fabric of your growth as one of the most important threads among all the threads of your experiences, disappointments, and joys."--Rainer Maia Rilke

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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Humor Isn't This Book's Strength

I Funny by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein

Adolescent Realism and Humor

First of all, this book was so NOT funny.  The jokes are corny and ridiculous and so old that Rodney Dangerfield might have used them in his acts.  There are jokes you would find in a joke book from 40 years ago.  I don't think I even smiled one time. Lest you think I have a more highly developed taste in humor because of my advanced aga, I have asked my students who have read the book if they liked it.  Every one said, "Not really.  It's not that funny."  But, that's okay, because the real strength of the book isn't the humor.  Other than the bad jokes, the book is really pretty good.

Jamie wants to become a famous standup comedian so he spends most of the book trying out his comedy routine on the reader.  Once you know Jamie's real story, it becomes easier to root for him. 

There is one thing I really like about James Patterson's adolescent series, both this one and Middle School.  They both are full of heart and, behind the jokes and laughter, is a real story with a hurting kid and how they are trying to deal with their situation.  Great role models for real kids!  It's also a great book for kids with disabilities.  The authors don't cut James any breaks because he's in a wheelchair and it is, literally, only the second book I have ever read about the main character being in a wheelchair.  It does have some pretty brutal stuff in it.  There are awful life situations, extreme violence, bullying and isolation.  It maybe needs a PG13 rating.  No bad language, but really heavy doses of sadness and serious family dysfunction.

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