Kara Babcock's Reviews > I Love You, Beth Cooper

I Love You, Beth Cooper by Larry Doyle
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it was amazing
bookshelves: from-library, favourites, humour, 2008-read, 2008-best10, deliciously-quotable
Read 2 times. Last read December 23, 2008.

I finished this book in three hours. From page one, Larry Doyle creates an eerily familiar depiction of high school, specifically that moment when you look back during your graduation and realize you're finally free and have your whole life ahead of you--and it's scary.

Doyle's wit sets us off on a one-night odyssey that originates from the single question, "What if, instead of delivering an average graduation speech, the valedictorian head of the debate team confesses his love for the head cheerleader? What happens then?" Such a question has many answers, so Doyle takes a fresh path.

This is a book that reads like a movie. It's epic and cinematic and paced like it has scenes rather than chapters. Doyle smartly confines himself to a single night (with a short epilogue) and, with a few digressions, a single storyline. I've tried watching Superbad twice and couldn't get through it. This book succeeded for me where Superbad failed because, unlike that movie, this book employs an intelligent, honest-because-it-hurts sort of humour. Each sentence jabs at one's brain, dredging up specific memories of youth and high school.

I Love You, Beth Cooper could be, at first glance, a typical coming-of-age story about the nerdy smart guy who falls for the popular cheerleader (or for his construction of who the popular cheerleader is). To some extent, it is such a story. But it's not only such a story, and that isn't the aspect of this story that makes it awesome. Rather, it's the fact that in spite of employing such a major trope, the story is never trite, and it never tries to force a redeeming theme on the reader. Instead, anything and everything that could possibly go wrong for the protagonist does. And when things go right, they don't always go right in the way one would expect.

If you're seeking some sort of original umbrella wisdom on the truth about graduating high school and entering the world of adulthood, your mileage may vary with this book. But if you just want to be entertained, then I'll agree with Dave Barry's review: "I'm not saying it will make you laugh out loud. But I am saying that if it doesn't, something is wrong with you."
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Quotes Kara Liked

Larry Doyle
“The temperature in the gym reached 125 degrees, qualifying anyone there to be served rare.

"Could we," Dr. Henneman said, wafting her hands about, "open those back doors, let a little air in? Please?"....

Miles Paterini and Pete Couvier ... pressed down on the metal bars. The doors didn't open.

People actually gasped.

Dennis began calculating the amount of oxygen left in the gymnasium.

Dr. Henneman's doctorate in school administration had prepared her for this.

"Is Mr. Wrona here?"

Mr. Wrona, the school custodian, was not here. He was at home watching women's volleyball with the sound turned off and imagining the moment everyone realized the back doors were locked.”
Larry Doyle, I Love You, Beth Cooper

Larry Doyle
“Denis could think of no logical reason why he should not attempt to mate with Beth Cooper.

There were no laws explicitly against it.

They were of the same species, and had complementary sex organs, most likely, based on extensive mental modeling Denis had done.”
Larry Doyle, I Love You, Beth Cooper

Larry Doyle
“I'm sorry I'm so pathetic," he thought, and then realized he had also said it.

Beth laughed, so lightly and so kindly that Denis felt it in his chest, not his stomach.

Can I tell you a secret?"

Yes, tell me all your secrets Denis kept to himself.

Beth leaned in, whispered: "All boys are pathetic.”
Larry Doyle, I Love You, Beth Cooper

Reading Progress

December 1, 2008 – Shelved
December 1, 2008 – Shelved as: from-library
Started Reading (Paperback Edition)
Started Reading
December 23, 2008 – Shelved as: favourites
December 23, 2008 – Finished Reading (Paperback Edition)
December 23, 2008 – Finished Reading
December 27, 2008 – Shelved as: humour
March 16, 2009 – Shelved as: 2008-read
May 16, 2009 – Shelved as: 2008-best10
June 10, 2009 – Shelved (Paperback Edition)
August 11, 2009 – Shelved as: deliciously-quotable
November 15, 2009 – Shelved as: own (Paperback Edition)

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