Think coming-of-age story for the 21st century. Think Diary of a Wimpy Kid for the mature teen. Think self-deprecating humour by a misfit, that has developed a cult following. Add these all up and you’ve got this hilarious, laugh-out-loud, quick witted novel, Spanking Shakespeare.
Shakespeare has the terrible misfortune of having a father who drinks too much, a nagging mother who is constantly pushing him towards a therapist’s couch, and a brother named Gandhi with a propensity to be malicious. Sound like the end of the world? Well, it’s not, and deep down inside he knows it’s not. But being a teenager full of angst, it is Shakespeare’s dutiful responsibility to wallow in his own self-pity and blame anyone and everyone for the continuous catastrophes that make up his life. In this regard Wizner does an outstanding job of capturing the essence of the teenage psyche. Shakespeare is the downtrodden victim representing all 17 year old boys and their dilemmas with popularity, prom, girlfriends, sexual frustration, et cetera, et cetera.
My only contention with this story is its blatant disrespect of religion, as its sacrilege in the last few chapters was a little unsettling, and even seemed unnecessary. My best guess is that Wizner has some pent-up anger resulting from the circumcision of his member, and has been viciously seeking revenge against God and the covenant as a result. Once I got passed that, I could admit that this was quite an enjoyable book overall, and it’s sure to be appreciated by any teen 16 and up, boy or girl.