Saturday, May 27, 2006

What I'm Reading -- Doing It by Melvin Burgess

My real reason for reading Doing It by Melvin Burgess was that I needed to quickly grab an audio book and there was not a lot in at my library at the time. I was, however, intrigued by both the controversy and that I had seen some of the television series, Life as We Know It, that was based on the novel.

The book follows the sexual lives of Dio, a jock who wants to sleep with the best looking girl in school, Jonathan, who nervously has a crush on his overweight friend and Ben, who is in over his head in a messed up relationship with one of his teachers.

While there is nothing wrong with books about sex, even teenage sex, this is the one and only subject of the book. The personalities of these characters are never really rounded out and they remain just caricatures of real guys. There is also little context given in the other parts of their lives, to give the reader much to care about.

Doing It does excel in a couple of areas. First, the relationships between the three male characters are quite realistic and therefore, interesting to follow some of their interactions. Second, there are some hilarious parts in the book especially the times the characters are unflinchingly honest and engage in some humorous and explicit monologues. Unfortunately, both of these characteristics are not consistently shown, making much of the book tedious to get through.

The narration is done by Jason Flemyng, who does a fine job. Flemyng has the appropriate accent for the three British friends and he somehow reads even the most ridiculous passages without missing a beat.

The Librarian Part: This is definitely for older teens. I imagine the demand for this book, if there was any in the first place, has subsided. I think there could be a place for this type of book for boys. Burgess, however, does little else with Doing It than creating an occasionally funny book, but one that cannot be anything more than “that controversial book”.

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