I Love You, Beth Cooper
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I Love You, Beth Cooper

4.2 71
by Larry Doyle
     
 

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Denis Cooverman wanted to say something really important in his high school graduation speech. So, in front of his 512 classmates and their 3,000 relatives, he announced:

It could have been such a sweet, romantic moment. Except that Beth, the head cheerleader, has only the vaguest idea who Denis is. And Denis, the captain of the debate team, is so far out of her

Overview

Denis Cooverman wanted to say something really important in his high school graduation speech. So, in front of his 512 classmates and their 3,000 relatives, he announced:

It could have been such a sweet, romantic moment. Except that Beth, the head cheerleader, has only the vaguest idea who Denis is. And Denis, the captain of the debate team, is so far out of her league he is barely even the same species. And Kevin, Beth's remarkably large boyfriend, is in town on furlough from the United States Army.

Editorial Reviews

New York Magazine
"…the book is great... dark, absurdist, insanely funny send-up of a John Hughes movie…Buy it."
E! Online
"…hilarious high school romp... never ceases to charm...unlike, say, PE."
Blogs - Houston Press
"A smart, incredibly funny pastiche…Doyle’s writing is fast-paced and full of self-aware nods to the audience."
Publishers Weekly

Former TV writer and magazine editor Doyle frenetically chronicles in his debut a long night of goofy teenage antics. After concluding he has nothing to lose, geekazoid valedictorian Denis Cooverman declares, during his graduation speech, his love for Beth Cooper, the way hot chief cheerleader. He is amazed to discover Beth is not completely repulsed by his feelings for her, although her army boyfriend, Kevin, is enraged. Beth, implausibly, later shows up at Denis's graduation party with two interchangeable sidekicks, Cammy and Treece. The party comprises exactly two guests, Denis (aka "The Coove") and his possibly gay best friend, Rich. Once Denis and Rich recover from the shock of being in the presence of pretty girls, they attempt to party, but the awkward celebration is cut short when Kevin arrives with his bruiser friends. Denis and Co. make their first of what will be several escapes, the circumstances of each providing Denis with evidence that Beth isn't the flawless goddess he'd imagined her to be. Overly rapid pacing, unlikely turns of events and quirky, funny dialogue reveal Doyle's TV roots (he has written for The Simpsonsand Beavis and Butt-head). Doyle wrings from his typecast crew just enough teenage agony and ecstasy to keep readers interested. (May)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Kirkus Reviews
A former scribe for Beavis and Butt-Head and The Simpsons humorously addresses the agony and ecstasy of adolescence. It's high-school hell, where jocks and geeks alike guzzle "diet vanilla cherry lime kiwi coke," scan car radios for tunes by "Jakob Dylan's dad" and cheer at the senior variety show when "the Sullen Girl sang, wringing fresh bitterness from the already alkaline lyrics." Doyle has the scene down cold. Coldest (and best) is his wince-inducing master creation, ultra-nerd Denis Cooverman. Best pals with maybe-gay vintage-movie-addled Rich Munsch (at Buffalo Grove High, they're called "Penis and Dick Munch"), Denis is the Star Wars-loving debate-team captain valedictorian who delivers a revolutionary graduation-night speech: Shockingly and suicidally, he outs classmates for their eating disorders, bullying, zero self-esteem and sexual abuse at the hands of relatives. Knees trembling, he adds his own confession: "I love you, Beth Cooper!"-pretty, pouty Lolita, cheerleader in excelsis. Then red with shame and bravado, he invites her to a party at his house, where his mom, indulging him, this time opts not for such organic treats as "croque-tofu, like grilled cheese only terrible" but a groaning board of "Triple Minty M&M's" and "Quatro Formaggy Cheetos." Miracle of miracles, Beth actually shows up, accompanied by two Lolitettes. Thus begins the most memorable night of Cooverman's life, a nadir/zenith during which he flees from Beth's Army Man boyfriend, finagles illegal booze, rides through the night like a mad romantic from a Meatloaf video and ends up making out. The plot, a pell-mell contrivance, isn't so much the point as is the hormones and humiliation of life in TeenageWasteland.
John Searles
“…this book is laugh-out-loud funny…”
Dave Barry
“If this book doesn’t make you laugh out loud, something is wrong with you.”
Tom Perrotta
“...an instant classic, right up there with great end-of-school landmarks like American Graffiti and Dazed and Confused.”
Kurt Andersen
“Larry Doyle has created a perfect literary hot fudge sundae: sweet, naughty, delicious, irresistible.”
David Schickler
“...a one-night-only joyride through Larry Doyle’s brilliant sense of humor.”
Esquire
“...hilarious...”
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“I have never laughed as consistently hard with (or at) anything as I did with this book…”
New York Press
“Doyle [injects] his own brand of insightful, engaging humor and convincingly recreates the high school experience...”
E! Online - Cool Stuff
“…hilarious high school romp... never ceases to charm...unlike, say, PE.”
Daily Candy Los Angeles
“It’s all outlandish fun, but what do you expect from a former Simpsons writer?”
Booklist
“…outrageously funny novel… ”
Entertainment Weekly - The Must List
“…this side-splitting novel of adolescence is a classic teen movie waiting to be made.”
New York Times Book Review
“Larry Doyle…gives a 21st-century gloss to this familiar tale… wickedly funny…”
Indianapolis Star
“This funny, hopeful novel is like a John Hughes movie in book form.”
Weekly Standard
“...a demonstration of the power of good comic writing…”
New York magazine
“…the book is great... dark, absurdist, insanely funny send-up of a John Hughes movie…Buy it.”
Buffalo News
“Hip and hysterical...a fun, teen coming-of-age story.”
Rocky Mountain News
“…hilarious coming-of-age novel…”
USA Today
“I Love You, Beth Cooper…made B&N fiction buyer Sessalee Hensley ‘laugh-snort through my nose.’”
Salt Lake City Tribune
“...darn funny.”
Entertainment Weekly
“Doyle’s hilarious debut novel [moves] at a clip but never forgets that humor needs heart, too.” Grade: A
Houston Press - Blogs
“A smart, incredibly funny pastiche…Doyle’s writing is fast-paced and full of self-aware nods to the audience.”
Vanity Fair
“In the flagrantly funny I Love You, Beth Cooper, Larry Doyle gives the coming-of-age novel a swirly.”
Blueprint Magazine
“Hilarious, suspenseful, and a little good-kind-of-sad, the novel is a mashup of John Hughes movies.
Time Out Chicago
One of the “best comedy books of the summer.”
Cleveland Plain Dealer
“...a romp, a goof, a wedgie to the coming-of-age novel... the book is blessed release.”
Newsweek
“Fresh, sweet, seriously funny.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061236181
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
04/15/2008
Series:
P.S. Series
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
747,236
Product dimensions:
5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.68(d)
Lexile:
850L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 - 18 Years

Read an Excerpt

I Love You, Beth Cooper

Chapter One

The Valedict

Just once, I want to do something right.
Jim Stark

Denis Cooverman was sweating more than usual, and he usually sweat quite a bit.

For once, he was not the only one. The temperature in the gymnasium was 123 degrees; four people had been carried out and were presumed dead. They were not in fact dead, but it was preferable to think of them that way, slightly worse off, than contemplate the unbearable reality that Alicia Mitchell's ninety-two-year-old Nana, Steph Wu's overly kimonoed Aunt Kiko and Jacob Beber's roly-poly parents were currently enjoying cool drinks in the teacher's lounge with the air-conditioning set at 65 degrees.

Ed Munsch sat high in the bleachers, between his wife and a woman who smelled like boiled potatoes. Potatoes that had gone bad and then been boiled. Boiled green potatoes. Ed thought he might vomit, with any luck.

Anyone could see he was not a well man. His left hand trembled on his knee, his eyes slowly rolled, spiraling upward; he was about to let out the exact moan Mrs. Beber had just before she escaped when his wife told him to cut it out. "You're not leaving," she said.

"I'm dying," Ed countered.

"Even dead," said his wife, at ease with the concept. "For chrissakes, your only son is graduating from high school. It's not like he's going to graduate from anything else."

Tattoos of memories and dead skin on trial the Sullen Girl sang, wringing fresh bitterness from the already alkaline lyrics, her wispy quaver approximating a consumptive canary with love trouble and moneyproblems. She sang every song that way. At the senior variety show, she had performed "Happy Together" with such fragile melancholy during rehearsals that rumors began circulating that, on show night, she would whisper the final words, I can't see me loving nobody but you then produce an antique pistol from beneath her spidery shawl and shoot Jared Farrell in the nuts before blowing her brains out. Nobody wanted to follow that. Throughout the final performance, Mr. Bernard had stood in the wings clutching a fire extinguisher, with a vague plan. Although the Sullen Girl didn't execute anyone in the end, it was generally agreed that it was the best senior variety show ever.

Behind the sullen girl sat Denis Cooverman, sweating: along the cap of his mortarboard, trickling behind his ears and rippling down his forehead; around his nostrils and in that groove below his nose (which Denis would be quick to identify as the philtrum, and, unfortunately, would go on to point out that the preferred medical term was infranasal depression); from his palms, behind his knees, inside his elbows, between his toes and from many locations not typically associated with perspiratory activity; squirting out his nipples, spewing from his navel, coursing between his buttocks and forming a tiny lake that gently lapped at his genitals; from under his arms, naturally, in two varietals—hot and sticky, and cold and terrified.

"He's a sweaty kid," the doctor had diagnosed when his mother had brought him in for his weekly checkup. "But if he's sweating so much," his mother had asked, him sitting right there, "why is his skin so bad?"

Denis worried too much, that's why. Right now, for example, he was not just worried about the speech he was about to give, and for good reason; he was also worried that his sweat was rapidly evaporating, increasing atmospheric pressure, and that it might start to rain inside his graduation gown. This was fully theoretically possible. He was also worried that the excessive perspiration indicated kidney stones, which was less likely.

I hope you had the time of your life the Sullen Girl finished with a shy sneer, then returned to her seat.

Dr. Henneman, the principal, approached the lectern.

"Thank you, Angelika—"

"Angel-leek-ah," the Sullen Girl spat back.

"Angel-leek-ah," Dr. Henneman corrected, "thank you for that . . . emotive rendition of"—she referred to her notes, frowned—" 'Good Riddance.' "

The temperature in the gym reached 125 degrees, qualifying anyone there to be served rare.

"Could we," Dr. Henneman said, wafting her hands about, "open those back doors, let a little air in? Please?"

Three thousand heads turned simultaneously, expecting the doors to fly open with minty gusts of chilled wind, maybe even light flurries. Miles Paterini and Pete Couvier, two juniors who had agreed to usher the event because they were insufferable suck-ups, pressed down on the metal bars. The doors didn't open.

People actually gasped.

Denis began calculating the amount of oxygen left in the gymnasium.

Dr. Henneman's doctorate in school administration had prepared her for this.

"Is Mr. Wrona here?"

Mr. Wrona, the school custodian, was not here. He was at home watching women's volleyball with the sound turned off and imagining the moment everyone realized the back doors were locked. In his fantasy, Dr. Henneman was screaming his name and would presently burst into flames.

"Let's move on," Dr. Henneman moved on, mentally compiling a list of janitorial degradations to occupy Mr. Wrona's summer recess. "So. Next. Yes. I am pleased to introduce our valedictorian for—"

Jah-juh jah-juh jah-juh jah-juh

Lily Masini's meaty father slammed the backdoor bar violently up and down. He turned and saw everybody was staring at him, with a mixture of annoyance and hope.

Jah-juh jah . . . juh!

Mr. Masini released the bar and slumped back to the bleachers.

"Denis Cooverman," Dr. Henneman announced.

As Denis stood up, his groin pool spilled down his legs into his shoes. He shuffled forward, careful not to step on his gown, which the rental place had insufficiently hemmed, subsequently claiming he had gotten shorter since his fitting. Denis had been offered the option of carrying a small riser with him, which he had declined, and so when he stood at the lectern barely his head was visible, floating above a seal of the Mighty Bison, the school's mascot. The effect was that of one of those giant-head caricatures, of a boy who told the artist he wanted to wrangle buffalos when he grew up.

I Love You, Beth Cooper. Copyright © by Larry Doyle. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

What People are saying about this

Kurt Andersen
“Larry Doyle has created a perfect literary hot fudge sundae: sweet, naughty, delicious, irresistible.”
Tom Perrotta
“...an instant classic, right up there with great end-of-school landmarks like American Graffiti and Dazed and Confused.”
John Searles
“…this book is laugh-out-loud funny…”
David Schickler
“...a one-night-only joyride through Larry Doyle’s brilliant sense of humor.”
Dave Barry
“If this book doesn’t make you laugh out loud, something is wrong with you.”

Meet the Author

Larry Doyle goes by thelarrydoyle on Facebook, Twitter, and in real life. Too much information about him is available at larrydoyle.com.

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I Love You, Beth Cooper 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 70 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
At the Buffalo Grove High School graduation the poster boy for geek Denis Cooverman gives the valedictorian speech. In his talk to his peers, he decides to go for the ultimate set down and the impossible dream. He names those who are bullies and abuse victims; he also tells those shocked people assembled for the graduation ceremony that "I LOVE YOU, BETH COOPER" although he expects abject rejection from the cheerleader. Shockingly, instead Beth encourages Denis, which outrages her boyfriend Kevin, who wants to kick some geek butt. Even more stunning Beth comes to Denis's graduation party with her two BFFs Cammy and Treece. Thus the three females join Denis and his only guest, his maybe gay pal Rich. Fuming Kevin and his army crash the party planning to beat the snot out of the geek; the Coove with Rich and the ladies flees into the night. This is a humorous over the top nerd's excellent adventure as the Coove and company are on the run from the army. Fans will enjoy the tale as long as the plausibility meter is left on idle. Mindful of the Keanu Reeves film The Night Before, in so many ways as Coove learns that his perfect heroine is human with flaws. Harriet Klausner
Brent Tedder More than 1 year ago
Doyle takes the everyman fantasy and makes it a reality but with so many humerous actions. We have all had one of those nights that starts out one way but goes so much further than ever expected. Definately worth the time plus it will make you laugh out loud.
sugarpy18 More than 1 year ago
This is a hilarious coming-of-age story that happens on just one absolutely crazy night. This book is perfect reading for anybody who's been a little different in high school and it shows what may happen when you finally take a risk in your life.
billy_swelding More than 1 year ago
i thought it was pretty good, the movie is almost exactly the same as this.
bczwr2 More than 1 year ago
I bought this book because I am a big Hayden Panettiere fan. The story is so simple--It's just about a teenage nerd who confessed his love to a popular girl. Then the girl gave her a night he would never forget. The characters are not that develop. However, I found them funny and kinda cool. If people want something funny, then this is the perfect book. If people wants good story and twists, this is not the perfect book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bost like book
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