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THE DOWNSIDE OF BEING UP by Alan Lawrence Sitomer


by Alan Lawrence Sitomer

Age Range: 12 - 14

Pub Date: Sept. 15th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-399-25498-7
Publisher: Putnam

The story of a boy and his boners.

"Weinerschnitzel." "Wang." "Sky-high pork pipe." "Baloney pony." Those are just some of the names 13-year-old Bobby calls his errant penis (within the first three pages), which becomes erect at the most inconvenient times. After accidently shocking his math teacher into early retirement when she gets a gander at his tent pole, Bobby is sentenced to several hours of school therapy with a counselor who needs couch time herself. In addition, he must deal with his clueless parents, randy grandfather, angry sister and moronic best friend, Finkelstein. His life is further complicated by the fact that he has a crush on the new math teacher’s daughter and doesn’t know how to ask her to the Big Dance. Will Bobby’s wayward pecker continue to obstruct his path to true love? To say this lacks the subtlety and character development of Judy Blume’s classic male-puberty title, Then Again, Maybe I Won’t (1971), is putting it lightly. Stereotypical characterizations combined with a plot that reads like a rejected Family Guy script assure that the novel will find an enthusiastic audience with middle-school boys who share Sitomer’s dubious sense of humor, if with no one else. However, the excessive penis and fart jokes may tire even them.

As a highly specific thesaurus it excels; as a story, not so much. Alan Cumyn covers much the same ground with considerably more nuance, though for slightly older readers, in Tilt (2011). (Fiction. 12-14)