Friday, May 4, 2012

King Dork

Author: Frank Portman
Audiobook: Read by Lincoln Hoppe (12 hours, 10 minutes)
Publisher of audiobook: Listening Library Audiobook
Rating: 3 out of 5

From the author:
Tom Henderson (a.k.a. King Dork, Chi-mo, Hender-fag, and Sheepie) is a typical American high school loser until he discovers the book, The Catcher in the Rye, that will change the world as he knows it. When Tom discovers his deceased father’s copy of the Salinger classic, he finds himself in the middle of several interlocking conspiracies and at least half a dozen mysteries involving dead people, naked people, fake people, ESP, blood, a secret code, guitars, monks, witchcraft, the Bible, girls, the Crusades, a devil head, and rock and roll. And it all looks like it’s just the tip of a very odd iceberg of clues that may very well unravel the puzzle of his father’s death and–oddly–reveal the secret to attracting semihot girls.
Being in a band could possibly be the secret to the girl thing–but good luck finding a drummer who can count to four. 
My thoughts:
Portman, aka Dr. Frank, is a singer/songwriter/guitarist of the East Bay punk band the Mr. T. Experience, so it's appropriate that in his first novel, his protagonist is a young musician and awkward teen. Tom (Chi-mo) reminded me of Arnold Spirit from Sherman Alexie's The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, only not as funny or endearing.

I'm not sure why I didn't like Tom. He definitely is not as off putting to me as Holden Caulfield, but I didn't feel myself rooting for him at all and I was a little irritated that after 12 hours of listening, the whole mystery aspect didn't quite end in a neat little package. 12 hours and there are pieces dangling. Ugh.

The perk and the best part of the audiobook is Portman's original songs that follow the reading. It's one thing to talk about songs that the protagonist is writing, but to actually have the author create those songs and perform them - way cool! The songs on the audiobook are: King Dork - I Wanna Ramone You - Thinking of Suicide - I'm Still Not Done Loving You, Mama- Gooey Glasses.


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