Kimmy's Reviews > Five Flavors of Dumb

Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John
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's review
Jan 31, 12

bookshelves: bloody-brilliant, characters-with-mensa-iq
Read in January, 2012

This book is one of the few YA books I've read which are written by a guy author. From my experience, there are subtle differences between the characters developed by a male and female author. For the former, protagonists usually have more chracter depth, are sassier and are more down-to-earth. Characters by female authors, on the other hand, normally tend to be more idealistic, whimsical and emotionally vulnerable. So what can I say about Piper of Five Flavors of Dumb?

She's freaking amazing. If I were a guy would definitely date her. If I were her female classmate I would be her friend-in-need-is-a-friend-in-deed BFF (view spoiler). She's tough, smart, cool-headed, full of I'll-show-you attitude and strong. And with so many good qualities Piper still doesn't come off as Mary Sue. Besides being deaf, she too has her own share of teenage angst, tempers and insecurities that are totally believable and understandable. Not even once does she even appear to be whiny or pathetic. Heck throughout the book I was like :"My idol! I want to be you! I want to be you!", disability - opps, sorry Piper, I meant unique difference - and all.

The plot is also unbefreakinglievable satisfying. There is a mix of childishness and adult maturity weaved into the business of managing a band. Piper encounters many obstacles along the way, and readers can empathize with her despair to hold the group together while trying to best other grown-ups in the adult world of cutthroat showbiz. Of course, the fact that she is not only a child, but also deaf makes her work doubly frustrating for her - believe me, Piper's demons are not only realistic, but really, truly nightmarish. Does she give in? Hell (view spoiler)no!

"I could have left (major spoiler)(view spoiler) and never looked back - no one would have blamed me - but I didn't. It was because I no longer carried the gene necessary to back down. In months I have faced more crap than X could begin to imagine, and someone as worthless as X was simpy incapable of bringing me down." What does that say about Piper?

Besides having an admirable iron grit and a never-call-it-quits vibe, Piper too puts even her deafness into good use to outsmart the adults at times! Throughout the whole book, I was laughing my head off!

I suppose I have set Piper on a pedestal and worshiped at her feet long enough. Five Flavors of Dumb's pull factors not just merely revolve around Piper; there are other equally good justifications why this book should have made it to your Favorites bookshelf, or at least your must-read shelf by now. The book is a hilarious (not because it is absurd, the humor is actually intentional) and engaging read. The plot evokes the entire spectrum of the human emotion: anguish, desperation, anger, guilt, diffidence, disappointment, joy, camaraderie, shock, fulfillment and of course, love. Family love, sisterly love, friendship love and ahem, boy-and-girl love. Another point that I would like to mention about books penciled by guy authors is: the romance is usually much more mundane. Nothing creative, unique or ostentatious. But at least for Five Flavors of Dumb, the romance is not cheesy nor yet another eye-rolling-inducing love triangle. The love story here is simple, not overdone, and sweet. Realistic and cute. I guess guy authors spend more of their time on other aspects such as crafting their characters, dialogue and storyline.

Five Flavors of Dumb should be hailed as a success for Antony John. I guess the biggest triumph for John, though, is making deafness, chess and sign language actually seem cool. Besides reading more of his books, I'm sure you can guess what other hobbies I'll be planning to do next.
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Comments (showing 1-4)

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message 4: by Antony (new)

Antony John Wow - thank you for the glowing review, Kimmy. For the record, Piper thinks you're awesome too!

Kimmy Thanks Antony! I can't wait to read your other books in the future (preferably books where the main character is a girl).

message 2: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim And making coffee! I can't believe you left that skill out.

Kimmy Oh yeah, and that too. And playing in a band, playing the guitar, the drums, singing, wailing, screeching, shrieking...

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