Doing It Paperback – 7 Aug 2014
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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
"The current king of this genre" (The Times)
"Funny, honest and touching with engagingly mixed-up protagonists... realistic, but utterly uncynical" (Observer)
"A genuinely moral work of fiction about a subject - the confusions, joys and terrors of adolescent male sexuality - rarely addressed with any such comprehension or sympathy" (Evening Standard)
"Filth, which ever way you look at it" (Anne Fine)
"Refreshingly realistic and unsentimental approach to sex" (Time Out)
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Top customer reviews
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)
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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Even the quotes on the cover warn you what to expect: 'Filthy, whichever way you...Read more
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