Without a doubt, if Paul Feig's KICK ME: ADVENTURES IN ADOLESCENCE were to suddenly become the next zeitgeist in comedic culture, it would be a totally justifiable harmonic convergence- all the evidence and reasoning behind such justification would be manifest within its pages. KICK ME will challenge the gut with all of its laughter-inducing anecdotes, all suffered by the hapless Mr. Feig- in a sense, the tome is like a literary version of a happy form of ipecac syrup, where guffaws are brought up instead of bile. So if you're feeling a bit disgruntled or are having a bad day, simply pluck this book from the shelf and use it to get rid of the agent which is poisoning your system.
KICK ME is a collection of stories which chronicle the abject youthful misadventures- forget what the title refers to them as, you definitely have to preface that third word with a mis- of Paul Feig, whose genius mind somehow extracted the quality-show to end all quality-shows, the unfortunately ephemeral FREAKS AND GEEKS, from the chaotic ether of unformed ideas and concepts (wherever/whatever the [heck] that is). Actually, I should take that back; forget this nonsense of a fantastical land that a Muse travels to for the benefit of its Master, bringing back raw, shapeless notions; in Mr. Feig's case, the lightbulbs were already there in his experiences, and his memoir is the proof, the explanation even, behind the eighteen episodes defining the socioecological parameters of circa-1980 high school fauna (which probably smoked a lot of flora in its time, to be sure). That show is not to be missed, and neither is this book. What KICK ME represents is a bible of commonalties in many ways; everything you read never seems strange or alien- you can relate, you swear you've been there before, the deja vu spontaneously transmogrifies into instant recollections of similar events from your own days gone by, the so-called "best time of your life", and you find the substitution of Mr. Feig's shoes in place of your own an easily acceptable event. And it becomes like the argument which attempts to rationalize the success of daytime talk shows: people relish the chance to see that they aren't alone. After reading KICK ME, most of us will realize that, although we believed ourselves to be lonely isolated islands surrounded by nothing but cold, cruel seas, each one of us was in fact part of a close-knit archipelago whose longitude and latitude on the social map were determined by the type of clique represented by such a group; in other words, whatever degree of nerdiness you aspired to, there at least were several others around you who were just as nerdy...and after that, well, there indeed was a long reach of shark-infested ocean.
Mr. Feig possesses an incredibly rare talent: he has the ability to convey in words analyses of certain situations that heretofore I have never been able to express with any cursory bit of verbiage, let alone process fully and satisfactorily in my mind. The reader will find many examples of such meritorious instances of this particular gift, but let me supply one stellar representative: the sharp deconstruction of a French kiss between the author and a girl who had just recently regurgitated a session of imbibing fermented spirits. That brings to mind a red flag about the work; one must realize that, since we are talking about a tome which in turn talks about high school experiences from the point of view of the male of the species, it would behoove you to keep in mind that there will be many descriptions of gross-out scenarios which will challenge even the strongest abdominal region (my own abdominal region is not even close to the middle percentile of strong stomachs, which rendered me susceptible to many a gagging bout during the chapter on germs and multiple persons drinking from the same can of beverage).
But it is not just the physical nausea you feel- it is also the emotional, as well. The chapter on the bus rides from ... and the nasty wasp-stinging inclinations of the "freak girls" resurrected the darker side of the public education system; completely fascinating, of course, but no doubt a tad scary as well. The point is, though, that Mr. Feig masterfully dissected each and every pivotal event in his formative years and made sure that every angle of each incident was properly measured and every theorem that could be possibly inferred from such data was indefatigably extracted. It can be seen, therefore, that this isn't really just a funny memoir; no, in the proper hands- read: in the hands of those about to enter the world of junior high- Mr. Feig's reminiscences could easily serve as an instruction manual, maybe even a textbook for survival (then again, as someone once stated, life is just one big continuation of high school anyway, so maybe this book is good for all demos).
One special note: the writing in KICK ME is, with no qualification, truly incomparable. Mr. Feig's stylings are crisp and efficient without being sparse and clipped; indeed, although his sentence structure is complex and at times packed, it nevertheless never came off as being inaccessible or bloated. Although the mere content of the book would have been suffice to carry it along, I believe the superlative execution of the syntax really brought it all together in the end.
KICK ME is, simply put, one of the best books I have ever had the pleasure of reading; about the only criticism I can levy towards it is a belief that it would have really benefited from a proper foreword and afterword. If you like to laugh, you'll love this. And if you think I've been too glowing about it, read the first couple of pages, and then get back to me...