Title: Spanking Shakespeare
Author: Jake Wizner
Publication Year: 2007
Genre: Fiction, Young Adult
The main character of this book is named Shakespeare Shapiro, and he hates his name. His little brother is named Gandhi, and it’s obvious from the beginning of the book that there are rather interesting stories behind both names – stories that Shakespeare’s parents keep trying to tell him, and he keeps trying to block out. Aside from the weirdness of the naming, Shakespeare’s dad is an alcoholic and his mom is always on a diet and constantly worried about what other people think; in short, Shakespeare believes that his name and his parents are the sources for all the failings of his entire life. He also believes that these failings are rather numerous, including – but not limited to – never having dated or kissed a girl, even though he’s entering senior year of high school. As part of the senior year at his high school, everyone has to take a writing seminar where the final project is a memoir. Shakespeare has decided to expose all of his mortifying moments in his memoir, and hopes endlessly for some respect and a steady girlfriend, though he’d prefer to get laid.
Spanking Shakespeare was absolutely hilarious. I thought it would just be a fun little young adult book to pass some time, but honestly, it was fantastic! I caught myself laughing out loud more than once – a little awkward in public. Shakespeare is a typical horny teenage boy, but he also has a genius sense of humour and horribly bad luck, turning every incident into sheer hilarity. I loved the format of the book, where it would oscillate between narrating Shakespeare’s current life and re-telling stories from his past in the form of memoir chapters. Along the way, he obviously learns a few lessons, makes new friends, and gets a little happpier – but the journey to get there is what really makes Spanking Shakespeare a really fun read.