Monday, April 20, 2009 by Becky
Burgess, Melvin. 2004. Doing It. (Originally published in UK in 2003.) Henry Holt. 326 pages.
You should be able to tell from the start if Doing It will be to your liking. If the title doesn't clue you in, then surely the first chapter will leave you with no doubts. Doing It is "YA Romance" from the male perspective. (Well, if you can have it be a "romance" without it being particularly romantic.) I'd classify it as humor--and believe me I'm sure there will be some that find it quite humorous--but well, some of the jokes are a bit mean, but perhaps even more importantly it is so much more than bawdy humor. (For me, the elements of humor falls more into the cover-the-eyes, it's so embarrassing kind. You know the sort where you laugh at someone else's misery or humiliation or pain.) There is a substance hidden under the first thirty layers of teen guys talking about sex--the sex they want to have but aren't always getting. It's a story of friendship, in a way, three guys: Dino, Ben, and Jonathan. And each guy is at a different place in their lives. Dino is a player pure and simple. He is dating, Jackie, a tease of a girl who will only go so far with him. She's always promising more...and more...and more. But always chickening out, getting angry, running away. Ben is a strange one. He's a guy with more than a few secrets. One involving an inappropriate relationship with a teacher. Jonathan is mostly a good guy. Not perfect by any means, he listens to his friends more than his heart I think. He has a friend, Deborah, that is "plump" to some people but out and out fat to others. He's drawn to her. He wants her, there's no denying it. But he's afraid that everyone will laught at him if he dates a fat firl. Dino especially can be harsh. So he's torn between his feelings--both like and desire--and his "reputation" as one of the guys. Some of the narrators are more likable than others. Jonathan was the one I liked best, generally speaking.