Jun 23, 2013

Review: I Love You, Beth Cooper

It didn’t take long to realize Larry Doyle had a background in television while reading “I Love You, Beth Cooper.” His book tried to be a John Hughes like teenage rom-com with Superbad mixed in. You couldn’t help but see the movie playing in your head while reading the book.

There was fighting, police cars, kissing, beer and a wild party.

However, at the end I didn’t find myself rooting for the hero. I was just happy to be done with it. The characters were flat and I found them mostly sad and pathetic.

Doyle included every one-note stereotype he could think: the dorky virgin, the head cheerleader, the kind-of-gay best friend, the slutty ditz, coke-up steroid freak and even  a black guy who sells drugs (Doyle actually called him a black wigger and was one of just two black people in the school).

What is meant to feel like a night of discovery is left feeling like a night of stupid choices. It feels like a night that has gone horribly wrong where a concussion or a brain bleed will be the likely consequences.

And despite the main character’s house being wrecked as he nearly pulverized by a raging, jealous, abusive boyfriend, his parents didn’t seem to mind. Of course they didn’t. They were just happy their little boy got out of the house for once, even if it meant thousands of dollars in damages and hospital bills.

At times, Doyle tried to make Beth Cooper, the head cheerleader, a character with layers.

(MINOR SPOILER) We discover she had a brother who died. This could have led to a good arc and allowed the readers to understand her decisions better, but she actually shows how little the death hit her because she admits she barely remembers it.

Thankfully, it was a quick read.

One of the benefits of Doyle’s background is that he can tell a story. He is able to keep the action moving from scene to scene without losing momentum.

However, with the lack of depth to the characters, I just didn’t care what happened to them in those scenes.

No comments:

Post a Comment