Carrie's Reviews > Boy Minus Girl

Boy Minus Girl by Richard Uhlig
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Feb 19, 10

bookshelves: z-2010, fathers-and-sons, racism-and-prejudice, y-fiction, funny-teen
Read on January 28, 2010

Les spends eighth grade fending off a bully, crushing on a girl he knows he'll never be able to get (it's not that she doesn't like him, she just has a long-distance girlfriend in St. Louis), preparing his magic act for the local talent show, and lot of time thinking about girls and sex.

When Les' cool uncle shows up, much to the horror of Les' uptight mother, Les thinks this might be the best thing that ever happened to him. Uncle Ray drives a cool hair, has cool hair, and freely dispenses advice about landing women and fighting bullies. If Les was as cool as his uncle, his life would be so much easier, right?

But, then Uncle Ray sleeps with the waitress at the local milkshake joint, her husband finds out, puts Uncle Ray in the hospital, and another woman shows up claiming Uncle Ray got her pregnant and then skipped town. Initially horrified and fascinated because he's pretty sure the woman is a stripper, Les befriends her, and starts to learn that maybe being like his uncle isn't such a great idea after all.

It's set at some point during the eighties, although it doesn't really feel like it other than a couple references to Uncle Ray's moussed hair, and a subplot about the prejudice Les' doctor father faces when treating an HIV positive patient.

I'm not really sure how to categorize this one. There's too much objectionable content to recommend for eighth grade, but trying to sell an eighth grade protaganist to older teens isn't great either. Maybe it's better for readers out of high school looking for some nostalgic, uncomfortable laughter over the antics of someone with more high school problems than they had?
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