Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Book Review: The Obnoxious Jerks

A Fair Trade Book

Title: The Obnoxious Jerks
Author: Stephen Manes

Author's Web page: http://wheresnowflakesdanceandswear.com/ (contains a "blog" page, but the only entry showing comes from 2011)
Date: 1988
Publisher: Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group
ISBN: 0-553-28114-3
Length: 212 pages
Quote: “There are jerks, and then there are Obnoxious Jerks. Jerks are everybody else. We are Obnoxious Jerks.”
Yes, that’s what the characters call their club, whose traditions include shouting out a fast-food order whenever anyone calls for order, neighing like horses to vote “nay,” and “saluting” by tossing tortilla-chip crumbs into the air. In short, they’re not what adults would call obnoxious jerks; they’re just a lot of high school sophomores dedicated to the pursuit of silliness...enjoying it in themselves, and exposing it in others.
For example, on the cover of the paperback edition, the guys are wearing skirts. That’s because they think the school dress code is silly. The code bans short pants but not short skirts. The boys choose skirts that are two or three inches longer than the shorts that were in fashion when this book was written.
They pull other stunts throughout the book. Some of the stunts are actually rather clever; they bring sophisticated ethnic food items to school and mess with the minds of kids who’ve not read enough to know which ones are organ meats and which are exotic vegetables. Some are merely annoying; some of them perform in a school talent show and others throw tomatoes and lemon meringue pies at them, even though they’re not the last act on the program.
Somewhere in this collection of tenth grade boys’ pranks, there is something adults would recognize as the plot—what adults typically think should be the focus of the plot of a novel about teenagers—a Learning Experience: narrator Frank starts dating a tenth grade girl comedienne, who he thinks ought to be in the club.
The Obnoxious Jerks is recommended to all devotees of silliness. Stephen Manes has written several other whimsical works of fiction for children and teenagers; I've not read half of them, but this is by far the funniest of the ones I've read.

The Obnoxious Jerks is a Fair Trade Book. When you send $5 for the book plus $5 for shipping to salolianigodagewi@yahoo.com, we send 10% of that total $10, or $1, to Stephen Manes or a charity of his choice. (You pay only one $5 shipping charge for as many books as can be shipped in one package. If you order four copies of The Obnoxious Jerks, or one of each of three of Manes' other books of similar size, at one time, then Manes or his charity gets $4 but you pay only $25.)