Remember those times in grade school when you were picked on or laughed at? The gym class you couldn't wait to end? That awkward first encounter with the opposite sex? Those tense moments performing in front of your classmates? Paul Feig's adolescent angst will make yours seem trivial in comparison. These essays about his experiences as an insecure, picked-on, but yet ever-hopeful kid from the wrong side of the popularity tracks will have you laughing and nodding as you recognize some of those same scenes from your own childhood.
Paul was a quiet and fearful boy obsessed with germs, undressing in the boy's locker room, and dealing with girls. He alternately either tried to gain acceptance from, or avoided the attention of, the other kids... all of which, of course, made him the target of ridicule or worse. He describes every anxious moment in his childhood from his unusual homemade elf costume in his first grade class play to his misgivings about his date at the senior prom. I suffered along with him on horrendous school bus trips. I felt sympathy for him when his teacher mispronounced his last name, prompting his classmates to dub him with an unfortunate permanent nickname. I cringed at his Little League and football announcer fiascos. I rooted for him when he performed in the school talent show. I worried about his decision to dress in his Mom's clothing for Halloween. And above all else, I laughed.
These stories are not just funny, however. They are masterpieces of observation about the social interactions among kids, or between kids and their parents and teachers. The anecdotes are undoubtedly exaggerated for effect, yet they ring true because they describe every adolescent's fears of fitting in. I recommend this well written and highly entertaining book.