BOY MINUS GIRL by Richard Uhlig


Age Range: 14 & up
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This 1980’s male coming-of-age narrative tries too hard to be funny. Hormone-ridden eighth-grader Les is anticipating another boring Kansas summer when cool Uncle Ray comes to town packing a revolver, a bottle of Jack Daniels and nudie pics. Ray is Les’s idol, but when it comes to light that he’s tomcatting around with a local married woman and is on the lam from his pregnant, stripper ex-girlfriend, Les is forced to reevaluate his bed-hopping hero. Meanwhile, he’s got his own problems: The town bully wants to crucify him, the girl of his dreams is gay and no matter how hard he tries, he just can’t stop masturbating. Uhlig’s sitcom plot, populated by stereotypes (the stripper with the heart of gold, the black-sheep uncle, the fat, misunderstood bully), plays for crude, cheap laughs that teens may appreciate in the moment but that won’t resonate past the next page. For a subtler, smarter and less clichéd portrayal of the teenage-male psyche, opt for the works of Chris Crutcher, John Green or Randy Powell. (Historical fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Dec. 9th, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-375-83968-9
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Knopf
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 2008