Ernie's Reviews > Stoner & Spaz

Stoner & Spaz by Ron Koertge
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Oct 12, 2012

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bookshelves: young-adult-book
Read in July, 2011

As the title implies, two sixteen year old American high school students, colleen, a drug addict and Ben who has cerebral palsy (CP) are the central characters of this story narrated in the present tense by Ben. It’s been a long time since Eleanor Spence and Ivan Southall created characters with CP and these two are memorable for the witty repartee of their ‘telling it like it is’ dialog.. Ben: “you throw up a lot”. Colleen: ‘I’m practicing for the Olympics.’
Ben has retreated into his private world of the movies, ‘a bit player in the movie of my life’ while his wealthy grandmother guardian over-protects and dresses him such that the school students interpret this, and his silence to mean that he thinks he is better than everyone else.
Colleen, a notorious, easy lay when she’s high, takes up Ben in revenge against her jock boyfriend: ‘This is not a date, I’m helping the handicapped.’ Colleen helps Ben undress and introduces him to sex and Ben, with the help of a sympathetic neighbour, makes a documentary movie and becomes a Lazarus to his amazed fellow students. However, there is no Hollywood ending and in 2011, the writer, Koertge has produced a sequel, Now Playing, Stoner & Spaz II. Years 9-11 Obviously, drug and sex references but little or no coarse language worries for schools with those concerns but otherwise an essential book for every high school.
Wide reading links: Living on the edge, body image, humour, identity, unlikely friendships, outsiders, overcoming adversity, school life.
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