The Downside of Being Up

The Downside of Being Up

3.5 2
by Alan Lawrence Sitomer
     
 

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Thirteen-year-old Bobby Connor is a normal adolescent boy--at least he hopes he is--just trying to survive middle school. But it seems he's being foiled at every turn, and even his own body is conspiring against him. And when his math teacher is seriously injured from the shock and fright of witnessing just how out of control Bobby's changing adolescent body is

Overview

Thirteen-year-old Bobby Connor is a normal adolescent boy--at least he hopes he is--just trying to survive middle school. But it seems he's being foiled at every turn, and even his own body is conspiring against him. And when his math teacher is seriously injured from the shock and fright of witnessing just how out of control Bobby's changing adolescent body is getting, he starts to worry he's anything but normal.

Faced with expulsion from school for violating the student handbook code, Bobby opts for therapy--Correctional Erectional Therapy. It's official: Bobby Connor is not normal. But in this uproarious and heartfelt novel, he's going to do his darndest to make it seem that he is . . . or maybe just try to make it through middle school.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 6–8—Eighth-grader Bobby Connor considers himself a normal kid, "not a dork, a jock, a brain, a freak or a perv." But he has a problem: "I have absolutely no control over what goes on in my pants. I get eighteen boners a day. Literally." And since middle-school students are not usually known for sensitivity to others, it is understandable that Bobby's erection in math class has many consequences: a permanent source of torment, a career-ending accident for the teacher, and the choice between either "correctional erectional analysis" or expulsion from school. When the new math teacher arrives with his daughter, Allison, she becomes the only normal character in Bobby's otherwise dysfunctional world-in spite of her father's dislike of him. Bobby's narration is likely to appeal to adolescent boys who might find his dilemma and the gross habits of a neighbor and Bobby's grandfather humorous. However, readers are likely to tire of the repetition (after all, how many synonyms for an erection or a penis can one chuckle over?). Not surprisingly, Bobby's parents and grandfather, as well as the other adults portrayed, have issues with sexuality and with interpersonal relationships, including Bobby's therapist. The conclusion is mercifully swift, and it is pat. While emerging sexuality is a real issue for young people, puberty, sexuality, and emotional turmoil are presented here in the flippant, tedious tone of a repeated joke that quickly wears thin.—Maria B. Salvadore, formerly at Washington DC Public Library
Children's Literature - Beverly Melasi
Thirteen-year-old Bobby Connor is a normal boy in middle school with a normal life at home... aside from a wacky grandfather, and a sister who hates him. And his best friend, Alfred, is a dork who brings pet cockroaches to school—all normal. But lately his body has been changing and it seems he has an erection every time he turns around. And trying to hide it in school has gotten way out of control! When his math teacher is injured from a fall after witnessing just how out of control Bobby's changing body is getting, they threaten to expel him from school for violating the student handbook code. Now he has to go to therapy—Correctional Erectional Therapy. How much worse could it get? Much worse! He meets Allison, the girl of his dreams. But her dad is the new replacement math teacher and he does not like Bobby. After all the ridicule and embarrassing moments in the story, Bobby finally learns that he is only going through puberty, and that all young boys go through it, too. This book is not about sex, but of a boy transitioning from childhood into adulthood. Although it's bound to be somewhat controversial, it's funny and worth the read. Reviewer: Beverly Melasi
Kirkus Reviews

The story of a boy and his boners.

"Weinerschnitzel." "Wang." "Sky-high pork pipe." "Baloney pony." Those are just some of the names 13-year-old Bobby calls his errant penis (within the first three pages), which becomes erect at the most inconvenient times. After accidently shocking his math teacher into early retirement when she gets a gander at his tent pole, Bobby is sentenced to several hours of school therapy with a counselor who needs couch time herself. In addition, he must deal with his clueless parents, randy grandfather, angry sister and moronic best friend, Finkelstein. His life is further complicated by the fact that he has a crush on the new math teacher's daughter and doesn't know how to ask her to the Big Dance. Will Bobby's wayward pecker continue to obstruct his path to true love? To say this lacks the subtlety and character development of Judy Blume's classic male-puberty title, Then Again, Maybe I Won't (1971), is putting it lightly. Stereotypical characterizations combined with a plot that reads like a rejected Family Guy script assure that the novel will find an enthusiastic audience with middle-school boys who share Sitomer's dubious sense of humor, if with no one else. However, the excessive penis and fart jokes may tire even them.

As a highly specific thesaurus it excels; as a story, not so much. Alan Cumyn covers much the same ground with considerably more nuance, though for slightly older readers, in Tilt (2011). (Fiction. 12-14)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101535653
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
09/15/2011
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
224
File size:
200 KB
Age Range:
12 Years

Meet the Author

Alan Lawrence Sitomer, an award-winning inner-city high school English teacher, is also the acclaimed author of four young adult novels: The Hoopster, Hip-Hop High School, Homeboyz and The Secret Story of Sonia Rodriguez. He lives in Los Angeles, California.

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The Downside of Being Up 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
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