I Love You, Beth Cooper is the literary equivalent of watching a John Hughes movie or a classic John Cusack as a teenager-in-love movie (think Say Anything). The book chronicles one wacky night (graduation night, no less) in the life of Denis Cooverman, who gets the ball rolling when he declares his love for the uber-popular and out-of-his-league Beth Cooper during his valedictorian speech. And what kind of people are valedictorians? Nerds. The book offers the classic “nerd declares love for girl – girl plays with nerd for entertainment purposes – nerd is hounded and attacked by girl’s extremely large and lethal Army boyfriend – nerd realizes there is more to girl that meets the eye – girl realizes nerd is not so bad after all” story.
This is a fast, funny, incredibly amusing read. I loved this book and was basically giggling throughout. Doyle takes all the cliches of every teen movie you’ve ever seen and gives them a unique spin of his own. Unless you’ve never been to high school, never seen a teen movie, or have no sense of humor, I can’t see why you wouldn’t totally enjoy this book.
About the Author
Larry Doyle is a former writer for The Simpsons, works in showbiz and writes funny things for The New Yorker. He lives outside Baltimore with his wife Becky and their three kids. And you gotta love an author who uses his high school photo on the book jacket. If you get the version of the book that I got (the P.S. version), you also get extra special bonuses like Doyle’s memoir on How to Become A Simpsons Writer in Only 26 Years, A Rude Interview With The Author Conducted By The Author, and Selections from the I Love You, Beth Cooper Agony/Ecstasy Contest. Be sure to get this version as the extras are TOTALLY worth it!
Denis was afraid of many things. A very long list of them could be found in a manila folder in the office of Dr. Maple, the phobophiliac lady psychiatrist Denis had seen from the age of five until twelve as a result of his parents having too much disposable income (Denis’s therapy was completed successfully at age thirteen, a typical outcome for Dr. Maple, who suffered from ephebiphobia, a fear of teenagers). But the myriad things Denis feared — which included, briefly, a fear of misusing the word myriad — the thing he feared most often and most enthusiastically was the future.
Rich had had a much less tragedy-free life. We needn’t go into details, since it’s a long, sad and ultimately unoriginal story, but as a result Rich had developed a coping mechanism by which all of the terrible things that happened to him were merely wacky complications that would, before the movie of his life was over, be resolved in an audience-pleasing happy ending. He occasionally worried his life might be an independent film, or worse, a Swedish flick, but he chose to behave as if the movie he lived was a raucous teen comedy and he was somebody like Ferris Bueller or Otter from Animal House or, worst-case scenario, that guy who fucked a pie.
Denis could imagine any number of scenarios under which his conquest of Beth Cooper would be successful:
- if Beth went to an all-girls school in the Swiss Alps surrounded by mountains, hundreds of miles away from any other guys except Denis, son of the maths teacher, and Beth was failing algebra, for example;
- if Denis was a celebrity;
- if Denis had a billion dollars;
- if Denis was six inches taller and had muscles.