Regular Guy

Regular Guy

4.5 11
by Sarah Weeks, Johnny Heller

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Guy is convinced that the man and woman with whom he has lived all his life cannot possibly be what they claim to be—his parents. They're too weird! Would anyone else's mother tie-dye every pair of underwear in the house? Would anyone else's father perform the famous oyster trick by sucking an oyster up his nose with a horrible noise and spitting it out of his… See more details below


Guy is convinced that the man and woman with whom he has lived all his life cannot possibly be what they claim to be—his parents. They're too weird! Would anyone else's mother tie-dye every pair of underwear in the house? Would anyone else's father perform the famous oyster trick by sucking an oyster up his nose with a horrible noise and spitting it out of his mouth—in a restaurant? No—except maybe the parents of the weirdest, craziest, most unappealing kid in Guy's whole class, Bob-o. But Bob-o's parents are as normal as parents come—just like Guy. This gives Guy food for thought, especially when he finds out that he and Bob-o have the same birthday, and were born in the same hospital! Guy and his best friend Buzz are determined to find out the truth about what really took place the day Guy and Bob-o were born. Readers will delight in Weeks's humorous yet sensitive handling of this classic adolescent phase—the search for identity.

00-01 Texas Bluebonnet Award Masterlist

Author Biography: Sarah Weeks is the singer, songwriter, and author of the best-selling picture books Crocodile Smile, Piece of Jungle and Follow the Moon, a middle-grade novel, Regular Guy, as well as the groundbreaking book with CD-ROM Little Factory. She also wrote lyrics for the 1997 hit Disney video Pooh's Grand Adventure. She lives in New York City with her two sons.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This first novel by the author of Crocodile Smile and Follow the Moon brims with clich s and hoary plot turns. The narrator, 11-year-old Guy Strang, couldn't be more unlike his flamboyant mother and geeky dad, who constantly embarrass him. Naturally, he concludes that he must have been switched at birth, and when he discovers that Bob-o Smith, "the weirdest, craziest, most unappealing character in the whole class," shares his birthday and was born at the same hospital, the case seems airtight. Guy and the credulous Bob-o swap homes for a weekend on the pretext of a school project. The hitch arises when Bob-o is far happier with the new arrangement than Guy, who is bored with the stultifyingly bland Smiths. The novel misses no chances for middle-grade yucks--from Bob-o's ceaseless nose picking to Mr. Strang's habit of inhaling oysters through his nostrils and expelling them from his mouth--and the climactic showdown is a virtual chain reaction of buffoonery. Ages 8-12. (June) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature - Laura Hummel
Many children experience an identity crisis during adolescence, but for Guy Strang it was a case of feeling like he was switched at birth. Considering himself a "regular guy," he was often appalled at the unusual behavior of his parents and was convinced that they could not possibly be his real folks. His mother tie-dyed his underwear and used his precious baseball card collection to decoupage a lampshade. Mr. Strang had the unusual talent of being able to suck an oyster up his nose and into his mouth, a skill he frequently demonstrated in restaurants. Guy and his best friend, Buzz, set out to find Guy's real parents. In Weeks' humorous book the two pals discover that Guy shares the same birthday with Bob-o, another child in sixth grade. Although Bob-o is the weirdest and most unappealing boy in school, his parents are perfectly normal. The search for the truth finds Guy and Buzz in some funny escapades...a delightful story, which would be a treat to read aloud.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6Eleven-year-old Guy Strang is convinced that he was switched at birth with some other baby. How else can he explain how he ended up with his parents. His mother dances around the house in lime-green stretch pants, a fluorescent orange top, and see-through high heels with plastic fish inside and his father likes to suck oysters up his nose and then spit them out of his mouthin public. Guy is just a regular guy who wants ordinary parents. So when his best friend Buzz comes up with a plan to search the school records to see if any of the other sixth graders share Guys birthday, he agrees to go along with it. They find an exact match: Robert Smith (known by one and all as Bob-o), the weirdest kid in school. And, Bob-os parents are as ordinary as Guys are eccentric. Could Guys theory be true? He arranges to switch places with Bob-o for a weekend (a supposed class project) and finds that there is no place like home. The plot moves quickly, is written in a breezy style, and has a likable and well-drawn main character. Guys embarrassment over his parents behavior is something that most children have experienced at one time or another. However, there is never any doubt that his folks love and treasure him. A subplot concerns Guys efforts to turn Bob-o into a normal sixth grader. A clever take on the search for ones identity.Terrie Dorio, Santa Monica Public Library, CA Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Fifth- and sixth-grade boys will relish the gross behavior of Mr. Strang and the nose-picking, fishy-smelling Bob-o. Guy's lessons in understanding emerge lightly in this humorous exploration of an idea frequently entertained by young adolescents.
The Horn Book Review
Kirkus Reviews
A boy finds himself so ill-suited for his family that he believes he must have been switched at birth—a classic childhood hunch that in Weeks's first novel, by turns drab and exaggerated, falls pretty flat. Sixth grader Guy thinks of himself as normal and feels alienated from his eccentric parents: his red-headed mother decoupages everything in sight and renders his father in ice sculpture; Guy's father, in turn, can do disgusting things with an oyster and is called "Wuckums." Along with his best friend, Buzz, Guy discovers among the school files that there was indeed another boy in town born the same day as he was: Bob-o. The weird and odious Bob-o has parents that seem remarkably normal to Guy, and they are left-handed and dimpled, as is he. Guy invents a class assignment that involves switching homes with Bob-o for a weekend; Guy discovers that normal isn't much fun and Bob-o finds kindred spirits in Guy's folks. The whole thing blows up in a melodramatic misinterpretation, as Guy figures out that there is no place like home—a foreordained ending in a novel that starts with a thin premise and grows flimsier with each page. (Fiction. 9-12)

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Product Details

Recorded Books, LLC
Age Range:
8 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

I know it's a long shot, but I don't feel I can just eliminate the possibility that I was raised by wolves without at least considering it for a second, do you?"

"You're touched in the head, you know that, Strang? Positively touched."

I count on my best friend, Buzz, to be honest with me. We've known each other since second grade, when he moved to Cedar Springs from some place down South. Most of his accent is gone by now, but his twang still shows through a little, especially when he gets what he calls "riled up."

"Do you really think it's out of the question?" I asked seriously.

"Well, do you howl at the moon, Guy?"


"Have cravings for raw jackrabbit?"

"Definitely not."

"Lick yourself?"

"Never," I said.

"Okay, then I think it's safe to say we can rule out the wolf theory."

"Wait a minute, Buzzard. Did you ever consider the possibility that maybe it was so weird and horrible out there in the wild with my wolf-pack family that I just can't let myself remember it?"

"In that case, maybe you'd better consider the possibility that you were actually raised by possums, Guy, not wolves. I mean, just because you don't hang by your tail and play dead now doesn't mean you didn't used to, right?"

"Aw, shut up."

"Anything you say, possum boy."

We sat there in silence for a minute.

Finally I announced, "Last night at dinner my father did the oyster trick again."

"Oh, man. Were you home at least?"

"Nope. Right in the middle of the restaurant. �Watch this,' he goes, �watch what your old man can do, Guy.' Like I don't already know. Then before I can even look away he sticks it up his nose, sucks it up there withthat horrible noise, and spits it out of his mouth."

"Gross me out the door!"

"I thought I was going to puke," I said. "My mother, of course, applauded."

"Did he stand up and make the announcement about how no one should attempt it at home?"

I nodded.

"Well, you know what I always say'just add an �e' to Strang and look whatcha get. Man, you really can't go out in public with them, can you?" Buzz said.

"It's not like it's so much better being around them at home, either. Take a look in my sock drawer," I said.

"Which one is it?"

"Second from the top," I said as I watched Buzz pull open the drawer.

"What's the deal?" he asked as he pulled out a balled-up pair of unmatched socks.

"She's a firm believer in the idea that opposites attract."

"But, socks?" Buzz held up another mismatched pair.

"There's not one matched set in there. Open the top drawer."

"I'm afraid."

I laughed. Buzz opened the drawer and pulled out a pair of rainbow-colored underwear.

"Groovy, man. Very sixties!"

"She tie-dyed every pair of underwear in the house last week," I said with a sigh.

Just then there was a knock at the door. I groaned, flopped back on my bed, and waited for the inevitable. In she came, singing at the top of her lungs.

"Snicker Doodles, Snicker Doodles, rah rah rah! Eat a bunch, hear 'em crunch, siss-boom-bah!"

My mother danced around the room, holding a plate up in the air like a fancy waiter. She had on lime-green stretch pants and a frilly Day-Glo orange top. Her curly mop of bright-red hair was pulled up into a ponytail, which she kept in place with a twist tie'the kind you use to close up garbage bags. She finished her song with a last wiggle of her rear end, set down the plate of lumpy cookies, and clicked out of the room in her favorite high heel shoes'the ones with the plastic tropical fish suspended in the see-through heels.

"Nice outfit, Mrs. Strang!" Buzz called as he reached for a cookie. He took a large bite and sang through his mouthful, "Snicker Doodles, Snicker Doodles, rah rah rah!"

"Can you picture your mother walking around in a getup like that, Buzz?" I asked as I slid a cookie off the plate. "I mean, put yourself in my place, can you imagine what it's like?"

Buzz just shook his head and crammed another cookie in his mouth.

"Maybe it was one of those mix-ups in the hospital where they give the wrong baby to the wrong mother," I said.

"Think that could really happen?" Buzz asked.

"Sure. I bet it happens all the time," I said.

"And you never know until you have a bad car accident and they call your parents to the hospital so they can give you a kidney or something and you find out you don't match up genetically, right?" asked Buzz.

"Yeah," I said, "I mean, do I even look like either of them?"

"Well, I've never actually seen you in stretch pants. . . ."

"Come on, Buzz, I'm serious. Do I bear any resemblance to them whatsoever?"

"None whatsoever."

"I swear, I don't think they're my real parents," I said.

"Well, they seem pretty convinced of it," Buzz said. "And you already asked about whether you were adopted, right?"

"Yeah, they denied it. But something's not right, Buzz. I can feel it in my bones."

"You mean, your kidneys."

"Goof on me if you want, Buzzard, but

I know there's something fishy about this family."

"Whatever you say, Guy. Hey, do you want that last Snicker Doodle or can I scarf it?" Buzz asked as he reached for the cookie.

I didn't answer him. I couldn't think about cookies at a time like this. Somehow or other I had to come up with a way to uncover the truth about my origins. It wasn't going to be easy, but I couldn't stand it much longer. I needed to know who I really was.

Regular Guy. Copyright � by Sarah Weeks. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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