Second Look: Spanking Shakespeare by Jake Wizner

The Story: Shakespeare Shapiro feels cursed because of the name his parents bestowed on him (which possibly was the result of some drunken performance art the night he was conceived). While writing his memoir, a school project required for him and his classmates to graduate, he reflects on some of the most memorable moments of his life. Some of these moments include getting hit in the face with a ball at a baseball game, going to a pornographic movie with his grandmother (which was her idea), and visiting a sex therapist because he’s a chronic masturbator.

The Low Down: I’m afraid I’m seriously disturbed, because I LOVED this book. Spanking Shakespeare is somewhat raunchy, but it’s no different than what you’d hear in the hallways at every high school in America. The story is told in alternating chapters: one set chronicles each month during his senior year of high school, while the other set are chapters from his memoir describing some of the brutally embarrassing events he’s had to suffer through his life so far.

Shakespeare’s parents are certifiably nuts in that loony, “we only want what’s best for you so let’s make your life as embarrassing as possible” kind of way. Shakespeare’s two best friends, Neil and Katie, are rife with their own bizarre issues that border on hilarious and downright sad. Neil talks about nothing but bowel movements, and Katie is an early blooming alcoholic. They get even more bizarre after they start hooking up… As for Shakespeare, his goals for his last year of high school are simple: get a girlfriend, get laid, and get a life.

Readability: Speedy Gonzalez
Readers will fly through this book. Mostly because it’s so damn funny, they’re not going to want to stop.

Bonus Features:

  • As a part of his memoir, Shakespeare is required to write his own obituary in which he sees himself dying a tragic death at the hands of a sumo wrestler when he’s 27 years old. HILARIOUS.

The Bottom Line: A crude yet fairly honest story about the wants and needs of most teenage boys, Spanking Shakespeare is a hilarious tale of a very unfortunately named boy. Read if for the laughs, read it for the quirks, and read it to make yourself feel better about your own life.


Also Recommended:
Castration Celebration*, also by Jake Wizner, is a laugh-out-loud story about a writer at a summer arts camp who has been wronged by one guy too many, and decides to write a musical called Castration Celebration. Also at the summer camp? A guy who takes a liking to her and makes a bet with his friends that he can sleep with her by the end of the summer.
*Recommended only if you dig really depraved, raunchy humor. Don’t say I didn’t warn you… 


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