Thursday, September 17, 2009

What Mrs N's Been Reading - Two Parties, One Tux, and a Very Short Film About the Grapes of Wrath

Recently finished Steven Goldman's Two Parties, One Tux, and a Very Short Film About the Grapes of Wrath. I really enjoyed this one! The main character is high school junior, Mitchell Wells. Mitchell is sort of a nerd - good GPA, clean discipline record, only one real friend, David, a total of one, sort-of-date back in 7th grade, and a popular younger sister. Right at the beginning, David tells Mitchell (at lunch, very matter-of-factly) that he's gay. Mitchell doesn't think things should really change between them, and doesn't want them to, but he can't figure out what he should be saying or doing around David. This is woven throughout the book. Several side story lines are also thrown in. Mitchell and David make a somewhat inappropriate Claymation video in a graphic arts class, and when he can't quite choke down the assigned English class book, The Grapes of Wrath, Mitchell decides to submit it instead of the required paper, drawing some really loose, wild connections to the book. When the English teacher leaves in the middle of the next class, and is then gone on leave, Mitchell thinks that perhaps his film got him administrative trouble. While all of this is going on, there is also behind the scenes setting up of prom dates through intermediaries, and Mitchell suddenly finds himself with not one, but two, girls trying to get him to take them. The characters are believable, likable and funny. When Mitchell finally goes before the headmaster to decide his fate regarding the film, I laughed out loud. Yes, there's a bit of mature subject matter, but it's handled remarkably well. Not appropriate for younger middle school kids, but fine for high schoolers and probably older middle schoolers. If you've ever felt out of place in school you'll relate. Enjoy!

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