Customer Reviews


24 Reviews
5 star:
 (8)
4 star:
 (6)
3 star:
 (5)
2 star:
 (2)
1 star:
 (3)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Several viewpoints keep the interest
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...
Published on 15 Jun 2007 by IcedGems

versus
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, eventful, empathetic.
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...
Published on 15 May 2003


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, eventful, empathetic., 15 May 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Doing it (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! I think most teenagers at 14 will not find the contents shocking or the language unusual, although many of their parents probably will. In short: your view on this will depend on whether you think books for teenagers should reflect the world in which many of them live, or whether you think the books should reflect a moral tone which needs to be put across. Read the book, decide for yourself!
The book may not be an award winner, but I think it will encourage debate. Hopefully it will encourage some new readers too.
(NB the book does contain strong language and explicit themes)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Several viewpoints keep the interest, 15 Jun 2007
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Doing IT (Paperback)
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars More talking about it than doing it, 21 May 2003
This review is from: Doing it (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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Laddish Lit for the Teen Set, 18 Feb 2008
By 
A. Ross (Washington, DC) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Doing IT (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). After this tedious setup, the book finally gets going as Dino encounters increasing frustration in his attempt to lose his virginity, Ben encounters increasing distress as his secret sex life, and Jon encounters increasing distress as his attraction to the chubby girl.

Unfortunately there's just not that much that's interesting. Gee, guys have anxieties about sex too? Shocking! Guys talk and joke about sex all the time in great detail? Shocking! I guess it's nice that the main characters express a range of attitudes, from Dino's extreme horndog duplicity to Ben's implausibly maturity, to Jon's aching obsession with how others will perceive his relationship with chubby Debbie. Similarly, the women evoke a range of sexuality, from pretty Jackie's on-again, off-again desire to "do it" with Dino, to Debbie's good-natured good-time attitude, to the teacher's sick emotional and physical manipulation, to a fourth girl's utilitarian attitude. But too many of the characters sounds too much alike, and like many YA books, they are generally a touch too self-aware to be realistic.

Ultimately, the book just isn't interesting or good enough to warrant the controversy it seems to have sparked (at least in England). Perhaps the most telling verdict is that it was the basis for an ABC teen series that lasted all of one year.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious, horrible, heart-breaking - spot on!, 23 Jun 2004
This review is from: Doing it (Hardcover)
This book was probably written for teenagers but it's perhaps easier to empathise with (and laugh at) the characters - 3 testosterone-fuelled, sex-desperate seventeen year old boys - from the More Mature angle (she says at 24 putting on her horn-rimmed glasses), looking back on one's teenage years in absolute horror and sniggering at things which seemed oh-so-important ten years ago.
Yes, the book is about sex. Lots of it. Graphic sex. But it is also about first love/crushes, peer pressure, and above all (and rather joyously) about good friendship. At the end of the book it is friendship which triumphs above sex, lust, and anything else.
Dino is the "golden boy" of the group, desperate to lose his virginity, with his eyes set on Jackie who teases him. Jonathan is annoyed and worried by his feelings for his friend Deb - she is lovely, but she's *fat*. How can he hold his cool and go out with a *fat* girl? Ben is carrying on a secret affair with his drama teacher - but the schoolboy fantasy soon turns into a nightmarish reality.
"Doing It" is horribly, fantastically believable. It's a great rollicking read, like Jilly Cooper for boys, but whatever your age you'll find it addictive and cheering for the lovable characters.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars About time..., 21 May 2003
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Doing it (Hardcover)
ther has been alot of controversy surrounding this book, even going as far as calling it "child porn". But it is all utterly ridiculous and clearly the people who criticise this book have forgotten what it is like to be 16 or 17, or were never that age. Certainly it is written for THIS generation of teenagers, which are different to older generations but being 29 I did identify with it and it was exactly how my teenagehood was!
Jon, Dino, and Ben are all trying to have sex. Jon with the "fat girl in school", Dino with his girlfriend, and Ben successfully with a teacher. Jon matures, Ben is mature and Dino - well we all know Dino will still be a "lad" at 40 and think its funny.
Far from being pornographic and misogynistic, this book is funny, relevant, and entirely modern. whats more - it is REAL.
And for the worry mongers out there - condoms are used, theres even one on the cover lest we forget!
Loved this book!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Doing It or Not Doing It?, 13 May 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Doing it (Hardcover)
I'm surprised to find myself writing the first review on this title, especially as I am not in the target age range the author had in mind. Having heard the outraged opinions of a lady interviewer on the radio concerning this title, I thought I'd see for myself whether I found it to be as dirty and immoral as the interviewer suggested. Well, it is and it isn't. Certainly I tired of the swear words that litter each page, not through any sense of shock or indignation, but because such language quickly becomes tiresome through overuse and lacking in impact. It is ugly to read and indicative of a dearth of vocabulary. But the author was only trying to reflect the language in common parlance amongst many teenagers today, so I do not criticise him for that. Ignoring the 'F' words therefore, what are we left with? A surprisingly sensitive and amusing account of the worries and sexual obsessions of three teenagers which, far from being immoral, revealed the vulnerabilities of the main characters. I'm neither a teenager nor male so I can't say whether or not the author captured the true torments of boys of that age, but he did succeed in creating ultimately sympathetic portraits of the 'heroes'. The girls were perhaps a little less convincing, but again the author managed to convey their characters in a compelling manner. There's plenty of humour (probably more obvious to an adult) which made me laugh aloud.
I'm hiding the book from my ten-year-old daughter (who has been forbidden to look for it) for a few years as it is clearly inappropriate for anyone below the age of puberty, but I look forward to hearing her reaction to it when she is of a suitable age to read it.
I've given a three-star rating as a kind of 'neutral' grading. I'd probably give it a higher mark, but feel that the target readership (say, 14-18?) may have different views.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I really enjoy this book!, 10 May 2004
This review is from: Doing IT (Paperback)
It's definitely one for older teenagers - even though my 12 year old sister would be perfectly capable of reading it, I don't think I'd been keen for her to.
Having said that, it's an amusing, accurate story of four boys first discovering sex ... or at least trying to. It shows the intensity of those days and the terror that everyone else is doing it so you really should, as well as the power games that develop.
The characters aren't the most well rounded ones I have come across, but it is a good read for adults as well as older teenagers.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The moral debate starts here!, 31 May 2003
By 
This review is from: Doing it (Hardcover)
Melvin Burgess has written a novel for teenage boys which will entertain, hopefully provoke thought, and almost certainly reflect life as they know it.
This wasn't the best teenage book I've read, but it was entertaining. I felt it was more soap than classic serial. It is written in a readable style, which is important for the target audience, I acknowledge, but which will probably not place it in the forefront for any awards. As stories go it's got the lot: sex, parties, shoplifting, divorce, attempted suicide, controlling teachers, affairs...
The book does include a lot of swear words and direct references to sex. It's best to remember the average 14 year old will learn nothing from this book, it's no doubt a milder version of what is discussed in the playground. This will still, no doubt, put off some parents from buying for their teens. The characters in the story are 17. I would probably not offer it to an under 14. It is both a strength and a weakness of this book that it doesn't seek to moralise - I can see both sides of that argument!
This book has, of course, stimulated a lot of discussion in review columns and on television. Any book which contains fairly liberal use of swear words, and deals with the issue of sex head on is going to attract question. In the end it depends on your own personal viewpoint. If you believe books for teenagers should present a moral ideal, and suggest a "better" way of living, rather than reflecting real life warts and all, and probably therefore propagating it, then this book probably won't be for you. If you feel that getting teenagers, especially boys, to read anything is a success, and the best way to do that is to tell it like it is, then you will probably think this book is one of the best you've seen for a long time.
You'll have to make your own mind up!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Legend, 18 Aug 2003
By 
Ali (Durham, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Doing it (Hardcover)
This book was an amazing insight to the world of teenage sex. It had everything there is to it; The build up to sex, medical problems, The sex, Braking up a relationship, repairing relaitionships. it was also a guide if you were to have any simmilar problems besause it has all the right answers. also it grabs your attention and has three diiferent storylines to keep your enjoyment satisfied. this is an intensive heavy book that does not leave out the gory bits. all in all its excellent. Its a legend.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Doing IT
Doing IT by Melvin Burgess (Paperback - 6 May 2004)
Used & New from: £0.01
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews