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Doing it Hardcover – 1 May 2003


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 330 pages
  • Publisher: Andersen Press, London; First Edition edition (1 May 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0862647886
  • ISBN-13: 978-0862647889
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 13.8 x 3.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 414,317 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

In Doing It Melvin Burgess has written what is potentially the most controversial young adult novel ever. It's an honest and funny book about three teenage British boys learning about themselves and life through their sexual experiences. But here's the catch: the story is told from the point of view of the hormone-sodden young males, naughty bits and all.

Gorgeous Dino thinks that equally gorgeous Allie should realise that they belong together and is puzzled and frustrated when their passionate lovemaking always ends with her refusing him. Jonathan fancies sensible, sexy Deborah but can't admit it to his friends, even after several steamy grope sessions, because she is…well…plump. And Ben is living every teenage boy's dream, an affair with a lusty teacher--but somehow it's getting to be too much of a good thing. Nearly all young adult novels about love and sexuality are told by and for girls: the perspective of this book will be educational for female readers. --Patty Campbell, Amazon.com --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

'Melvin Burgess is a rare talent whose work is powerful, compelling and sensitive.' Lee Hall (screenwriter of Billy Elliot)

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'OK,' said Jonathon. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 15 May 2003
Format: Hardcover
This is an entertaining story about three 17 year old boys, each of whom have their own problems when it comes to their sex lives. Being 17, these problems are uppermost in their minds (and in any case, how could they ignore what certain parts of their anatomy are telling them?).
The characters are easy to identify with, most of us will recognise them from our own schooldays. The style of the book makes it easy to read, and the plot draws you along: although maybe I would say it is more well written popular soap than classic serial. The author shows a great deal of empathy with his characters and the problems they experience, and the language seemed about spot on to me. In other words, the book was, I felt, realistic and set in a world a lot will recognise. It seems clear that the author wanted to set teenage readers thinking about their lives, rather than preach to them about the right way to behave.
I personally don't think this will be a medal winner, but that isn't to detract from it being a good read. I also think this unashamed/explicit/relevant (delete depending on your viewpoint) book might appeal to those teenagers who perhaps aren't drawn by many of the teenage titles on the market. Of course, the aim is to interest boys, although I don't think girls will feel left out.
I don't want to give away the plot, but I think it would be reasonable to say that issues covered include a pupil having an affair with his teacher, attempted suicide, image conciousness, parent's separation, a girl who will, a boy who won't, a cancer scare, shoplifting, and many, many attempts to have sex! As you can see, a busy book!
Who is this book for? Well I guess anybody aware of the hype/debate will want to know this!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By IcedGems on 15 Jun 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a female reader, this book was fascinating to me as a 'snapshot' of teenage boys' thinking processes. I laughed and screwed up my face as the boys talked about their girlfriends to each other in an extremely derogatory way, and yet all of them were terrified of the girls finding out they had behaved like this! All the boys have problems of their own - each is keeping a secret that he can't possibly share with anyone. Unlike girls, who tell each other everything (often to their own detriment, as such secretc can be used against them later), boys use words to impress each other and thus boost their own standing within the group - words that may not necessarily be true and are certainly unlikely to reflect their true feelings.

The book is written in shifting points of view and alternately in past and present tense - a style that does hold the interest (as each chunk is short and quick to read) but also makes it difficult to keep caring about the overall story.

I would have given this book three stars but for the storyline involving Ben, who is sleeping with his teacher. I thought this storyline showed excellently how an older (emotionally damaged) woman could manipulate a younger man in a sexual situation. And how that seventeen-year-old would feel trapped because, to all intents and purposes, he is living every boy's fantasy - even though it's turned sour.

The book is explicit but not unnecessarily so. An interesting and insightful read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By bevn on 21 May 2003
Format: Hardcover
Although I had seen some of the adverse publicity surrounding Doing It I was determined not to let it affect my opinion. Although the idea behind the story is a good one, the way it is written is questionable. Lots of swearing and sexual references don't make up for a bad story. Unlike Junk which also touches upon a delicate subject this one seems to have been written to shock and not to show off his writing skills. I'm not quite sure who this is aimed at but under 16's would just giggle and over 16's would be bored. In his attempt to be "cool" Burgess is in danger of alienating his target audience.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A. Ross TOP 500 REVIEWER on 18 Feb 2008
Format: Paperback
According to Burgess, he wrote this, his third YA (young adult) book because, "I do believe that we have let young men down very badly in terms of the kinds of books written for them. This book is my go at trying to bring young male sexual culture into writing." I'm not sure I really buy the premise that teenage boys are lacking in representations of their "sexual culture," it may just be that they are located in film (from Porky's to American Pie to Superbad) rather than books. I'm pretty sure that one could make the reverse statement about teenage girls and film -- but whatever the case, one thing I have noticed as a casual reader of teen lit is that over the last ten years,YA authors and publishers have been increasingly heading for edgier and more controversial terrain.

This story definitely fits that mold, as it revolves around the sex lives of three 17-year-old boys in England and doesn't pull any punches when it comes to graphic language or description (albeit in British slang that American parents may not find as objectionable). It's not exactly breaking news that teenage boys are obsessed with sex, and what Burgess does here is try to give expression to that. While it does succeed in fits and starts, the story is more notable for how boring it generally is, and how soap-operaish the plotlines are, than it is for breaking any kind of new ground. The first 1/4 to 1/3 of the book is especially tedious as Burgess labors to set up Dino (incredibly handsome and dating the school babe), Ben (apparently hapless with the girls, but secretly having crazy sex with a 20-something drama teacher), and Jon (the loudmouth with a crush on a slightly chubby girl).
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