Monday, January 22, 2007

King Dork

Portman, Frank. 2006. KING DORK: New York: Random House. ISBN 0385732910 [Suggested Grade Levels 9-12]

Tom Henderson deconstructs his high school social structure with bold wit and exquisite sarcasm. Even though he is on the outside, Tom, self-named King Dork, retains all of the insights of being on the inside. He shares the painfully hilarious views of his microcosm to our vast enjoyment and enlightenment. KING DORK is a study in tone – pitch perfect.

Tom’s first person narrative is excruciatingly funny and forthright and compels the action in a random, twisted fashion. His father died in a car crash when he was eight, but he has always sensed there were complications not disclosed. Even though he has read CATCHER IN THE RYE several times and is not a cult follower of Holden Caulfield, he finds various clues in his father’s copy of the book that may lead to solving the mystery of his death and or the meaning of his life.

Frank Portman is a real-life rock musician and it shows. Tom often digresses about his potential band names, cover art, and song lyrics. He is vastly knowledgeable about rock music which adds a certain dorky reality to Tom’s character. The book contains a “bandography” of band names considered by Tom and Sam from August through December and a glossary containing vocabulary words from his English class with rankings of rock bands. Portman has also established a web site to attract teens with various band information and discographies.

Invite readers to compile their own discographies, design their own album cover, logo, and create stage names.

Check out the Web site created by the author about the novel:

Acito, Marc. 2005. HOW I PAID FOR COLLEGE. ISBN 076791841X

By Cay Geisler

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