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Doing It

3.31  ·  Rating Details ·  2,560 Ratings  ·  230 Reviews
Now in paperback, award-winning author Melvin Burgess's daringly honest and often hilarious account of contemporary teenage life, and the ups and downs that surround "doing it."

The controversial book on which the cult favorite ABC television series Life as We Know It (now available on DVD) was based, Doing It introduces us to Dino, Jon, and Ben, three teenage best friends
Paperback, 336 pages
Published May 2nd 2006 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) (first published April 30th 2003)
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Feb 27, 2008 GraceAnne rated it really liked it
This book makes me angry every time I read it, but that is why it is so crucial to the Young Adult Literature course I teach. I always feel that Burgess is playing me, manipulating me, deliberately being both shocking and truthful.

And he is.

It turns out, however, to be a very moral book indeed.
Jul 08, 2007 Annie rated it liked it
Recommends it for: people who think about sex and teens
It's not very often that a book from a boy perspective goes as deep and as far as this book does. And the thing is, it's not just a book about having sex where the perspective has been superficially switched from a girl to a boy. It is a dense book plotwise, having three different main characters to follow around and their issues are fundamentally different enough to create tension and hold the story true to life. Also, Doing It explores the concepts of revenge, rape, when to see a doctor, and v ...more
Early on in Doing It we learn that teenage boys are kinda gross and think about sex more than anything else.

Then we learn that they actually have depth and feelings and stuff.

(But a lot of the depth and feelings and stuff pretty much revovle around sex.)

This is a cute book. Imagine Judy Blume for boys. Well, for those of you at a certain age *ahem* for whom Judy Blume was not horribly cheesy and outdated, imagine... you know.

All of the shocking sexual activities probably has a more profound a
Apr 13, 2013 Nicola rated it did not like it
2Q, 4P

I was really looking forward to reading this book. I remember being in junior high and sneaking peeks at certain books in the library that I knew contained sex. It felt so scandalous! If this book had been in the library when I was 12 and I had come across it, I would have had my fill, been so shocked that I probably never would have looked for another sexy passage again.

I am perhaps not familiar enough with the inner workings of a teenage boy's brain, but I had difficulty following what
Dec 01, 2008 Mackenzie rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people who like sexal stuff
Recommended to Mackenzie by: no one
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 11, 2011 Karin rated it really liked it
Sex, Sex, Sex….it seems that is all that is on the minds of the three boys in this book. Dino, Ben, and Jonathan are great friends and all trying to find a way to lose their virginity. Dino is obsessed with Jackie, the most popular girl at school. Jackie doesn’t give Dino the time of day. She likes older boys and has had a serious boyfriend for a while. Finally, after a lot of convincing, Jackie agrees to go on a date with Dino. She finds that she can’t stop thinking about him and finally they b ...more
Anyta Sunday
Apr 15, 2013 Anyta Sunday rated it it was amazing
I loved this book.

Such honest insight into teen life and funny! :-)

It's not all pretty, though--the way these boys think at times is positively awful.

But it's great.

Claire (Book Blog Bird)
Jun 27, 2016 Claire (Book Blog Bird) rated it really liked it
Doing It is the story of Dino, Ben and Jon, three teenage boys who literally cannot stop thinking about sex. The book charts their cringy, hilarious efforts to drop their V-cards.

Firstly, I have to say I really enjoyed this book. It made me laugh out loud on numerous occasions and while it was horrifically close to the truth, it showed a warts-and-all picture of how often the average teenager thinks about sex (spoiler alert: a LOT). However, it is obviously very sexually explicit, so I think the
Let's just lay it out flat, much like the plot of this book: I didn't like this book. I was very much annoyed by the fat jokes and focus on popularity and image. I couldn't stand it past 100 pages for personal reasons. It was nice to read a book with a protagonist that wasn't a loser/recluse but I just couldn't read any more of the frivolous, self-centered comments of the main characters.

That being said, I suppose I can see the book as a tool to re-engage teens back into reading. The topic is r
Feb 17, 2009 Heather rated it really liked it
This guy, a British fellow, gets a lot of critical acclaim for his writing--it's honest and believable stuff about young adults (plus, this particular book was spawned into a short-lived series by the geniuses that brought up the other great short-lived series Freaks and Geeks). I decided to buy and read this book because, in my writing, I'm wondering if I got the teenage male voice right... not ever having been a teenage male, I wasn't sure that what I thought they were thinking about lust and ...more
Jul 16, 2008 Erica rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
Raunchy and funny.

Year of Pub: 2004
Publisher: Henry Holt & Company, New York, NY

( June 01, 2004 ; 0-8050-7565-8 )

Gr. 10 and up. Burgess' third novel follows three best mates as they shag, attempt to shag, try to get out of shagging, masturbate while contemplating shagging, and then shag some more. Ben is sleeping with his obsessive drama teacher; Jon finds himself irresistibly attracted to Deborah, who would be perfect if her pudginess didn't make him subject to ridicule; and Dino, a
Christie at The Library
Jan 19, 2013 Christie at The Library rated it did not like it
Shelves: young-adult
This story its told through the perspective of three teenage boys, as they think about and experience sex. It also deals with issues of friendship, peer pressure, self-esteem and family/parental struggles. The three main characters of the story are best friends Dino, Ben, and Jonathan, three "typical" teenage boys with raging hormones who want more than anything to "do it." As the story progresses, each character narrates their storyline, sharing unique (often sex related) experiences. Dino atte ...more
Nov 08, 2014 Jan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
Just looking through the list to find the edition that I read (right cover is very important) and I see that this cover is rather less risque than some! This book is, I suppose, technically YA but could easily be read and enjoyed by adults - especially those looking to recall the angst and joy of being seventeen.

The book has multiple narrators but it is based around a friendship grouping of three seventeen-year-old boys: DIno, Ben and Jonathon with smaller contributions from various girls they
Jan 05, 2009 Eileen rated it liked it
Shelves: ya-sex
Doing It starts with the three main characters discussing whom they would choose to shag, given two supposedly unappealing choices. This opening scene sets the tone of the book.

Dino is the It boy and wants to hook up with Jackie who is equally It. Jackie is supposedly a sensible, mature girl with an older boyfriend, who somehow falls under Dino’s spell. I found Jackie to be completely confusing and annoying. She goes back and forth between lusting after Dino and despising him. Jackie’s wavering
Sep 28, 2013 Hannah rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Teenage relationship drama lovers.
Shelves: worst-books-ever
Where is the character that does not TICK ME OFF! I was really looking forward to reading this book. Me, being a female, the inner thoughts of teenage boys mind is something that I can't even begin to fathom. Naturally, the first book I see that dwells in the unknown territory of a males mind; is a one way ticket to scandalous untold secrets. Sadly, my dislike for the characters and how the characters reacted to some events made it hard for me to truly enjoy this book entirely.

This story is abo
Mar 05, 2011 Karishma rated it really liked it
Hmm, *taps chin* what to say, what to say?

For starters, this book definitely talks about that three letter word a lot (the word is sex, if you didn't catch that), but I wouldn't allow anyone to shy away from this book simply because of that. Initially, I was gobsmacked at how it just jumped right into it, but it's not unbearable; you get past it. Plus, the male perspective is not something you find very often. The book alternates POV's.

About halfway through is when I probably got the distinction
Feb 14, 2011 Amy rated it liked it
3.5 stars
There is a difference between liking a book and seeing the value in it. Although this book was lower on the star meter, I did see the value in it and was actually impressed with it in the end. "Doing It" is about exactly what the title says. Three teens guys in Britain are all obsessed with doing it. Now, I thought the book, which was required reading for my YA lit class in the "controversial literature" genre, would be all raunchy and crude with a lot of bad humor. Now every page was f
Let me first say that I read this book as a requirement for a class in my MLIS program on selecting materials for a Young Adult audience.

Bleh. This book was awful. I almost threw my Kindle, it was so aggravating.

It's well written and pretty accurate to the way teenage boys think about sex. But....I didn't like teenage boys when I was a teen and I definitely dislike them now. The characters are all pretty unlikable. One decides that since his girlfriend won't put out, he'll just go get a second o
Jan 07, 2014 Elizabeth rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-own-read
I didn't expect this book to be life changing or teach me anything or make me feel any certain kind of way. But it looks hilarious, and I heard it was hilarious. I wanted to read a light book from the perspective of boy's because you never really get to read from the mind of a guy, written by a guy, about sex. You always hear "Guys love sex", which is very true even in this case, but you get to read more about it and the mindset they have about everything.

I really liked the beginning of the book
Reading a book called "Doing It" lead to no end of tasteless jokes from my friends (nearly as many as when I read "Ragged Dick"), but unfortunately, that was my favorite part of reading this. (It was for class, p.s. - you can think about my poor reading choices when it comes to culinary mysteries and vampire chick-lit, but not this.) I can see its value in its honest portrayal of the mind of the typical teenage boy, but I didn't enjoy reading it at all. I didn't find any reason why I should care ...more
Dec 12, 2010 Marie rated it it was amazing
When I say "I couldn't put it down," I mean it. I was glued to the couch and read his book from start to finish, and was sorry when it was done. I laughed, I gasped in horror, I bit my nails with worry. Not many novels do that for me.

The book shares the mindset and voice of the incredible British TV show SKINS. So much so that I was convinced Burgess was a co-creator of the series, but this seems not to be. Like SKINS, DOING IT follows the lives of a group of Brit teens as they obsess about the
If you're able to get past the initial shock of just how graphic and naughty and dirty this book is, then you'll definitely like it! If not, well, then I think that explains the less than stellar ratings on Goodreads...

Seriously, though, this is hilarious and very raunchy indeed but I think it's a very accurate take on what goes through the minds of young men all over the world. I liked the characters and their story lines even though sometimes I just wanted to yell at them. I had watched the A
Feb 26, 2014 Eric rated it it was ok
Couldn't finish it. Part of it might have been the narrator who was too flip.

Maybe it is that I'm not a player or a male slut. I could not identify with any of these guys.

Guys motivations are very clear to me and I easily grasp why a guy would lie to a woman to get laid and are obsessed with sex. Guys think about sex a lot. Tons.

I wish someone would write a book on male horniness with characters you could like. The male libido is not evil and horny teen boys are real people with genuine desires
Jun 10, 2015 Yasmin rated it it was ok
Very conflicted in my opinion of this.

Let's start with the good stuff. I found the three protagonists very well rounded, authentic characters. While I didn't understand their behaviour a lot of the time, it made sense for them. I like how Burgess managed to weave in such serious themes within a book focused on sex. There were some funny bits, but I did lose my attention towards the end.

Okay so bad stuff.

I'm all for multiple narration; it's a feature I love, actually, and part of my excitement fo
Jan 19, 2011 Nate rated it really liked it
There are very few (If any seeing as I can't think of any others) dealing with this topic, that are written from the guys POV. It was good to know that some of the thoughts that were going on in side these characters heads were some of the same that have crossed my mind. I guess I am normal. lol

The book starts out with the 3 main characters playing a sort of game where they have to pick between two very unlikely candidates to shag (have sex with). Being that this is a discussion I too have ha
Jan 13, 2016 Patricia rated it it was ok
I found it odd that the chapters jumped from first person to third person with no consistent rhythm. Sometimes the switch would come mid-chapter. Maybe if there had only been one person's point of view, this would have worked, but with three characters--plus some other people weighing in now and then--I kept being jolted.

This feels like a fairly realistic book about what it is to be male and adolescent, which I ultimately found depressing because, dude, adolescent guys can be uber creeps. There
Jun 29, 2012 Amanda rated it it was ok

This book could've been titled "British Pie" as the UK version of the American film franchise where three friends spend their last year in high school trying to lose their virginity. I can't recommend it to my highschool students as it is over-the-top with sex scenes and I wouldn't recommend it anyway as its treatment of female characters is limited (I'm being kind here). The only redeeming factor in the lewd text is a charming scene where Jon gets neurotic about a vein on his wee (knobby to th
There is no doubt in my mind why this book is controversial. The first half is quite pornographic and goes into detail about some sex acts. (I'll admit though that there is a lot of British slang so it I don't know exactly what they were talking about most of the time.) Once they get that out of the way, the plot develops a bit and the main characters are humanized. As much as I would hate handing a book like this to a youth, it's the sort of thing that many of them would like to read and in the ...more
Feb 01, 2013 Jamie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's a bit shocking, this randy novel from (mostly) boys' perspectives, mostly about sex. But it's about other important things, too--like choices, and consequences, and secrets, and sharing your vulnerabilities. It was funny and a speedy read, but it was also rather long. I didn't think the shifts in 1st & 3rd person worked particularly well.
Jennifer Beckles
Oct 24, 2011 Jennifer Beckles rated it liked it
This book was introduced to me during the Young Adult Fictions undergrad course which I studied in 2007.The original cover of the edition which I read depicted a young woman with her pants down accompanied by a title in bold yellow print - 'Doing it'. Pretty self explanatory.
The story focuses on a group of adolescent boys picking, and stumbling their way through girls, relationships, and life in general.
Burgess used strong language throughout the book, but it was not to my mind, overused. It see
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Melvin Burgess is a British author of children's fiction. His first book, The Cry of the Wolf, was published in 1990. He gained a certain amount of notoriety in 1996 with the publication of Junk, which was published in the shadow of the film of Irvine Welsh's Trainspotting, and dealt with the trendy and controversial idea of heroin-addicted teenagers. Junk soon became, at least in Britain, one of ...more
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“The thing that truly amazes me about myself is that I’m actually more scared of being embarrassed than anything else.” 4 likes
“Deborah felt his erection against her stomach and smiled up at him. She grabbed hold of his bum and moved him gently from side to side so that it rocked against her, twitching like Frankenstein's monster in an electric storm.” 3 likes
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