The Screwed up Life of Charlie the Second

The Screwed up Life of Charlie the Second

by Drew Ferguson


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Sometimes, it's just easier to think I'm not the freak. I'm just in an alien world. . .

Being Charles James Stewart, Jr., AKA Charlie the Second, means never "fitting in." Tall, gangly and big-eared, he could be a poster boy for teenage geeks. An embarrassment to his parents (he's not too crazy about them, either), Charlie is a virtual untouchable at his high school, where humiliation is practically an extracurricular activity. Charlie has tried to fit in, but all of his efforts fail on a glorious, monumental scale. He plays soccer--mainly to escape his home life--but isn't accepted by his teammates who basically ignore him on the field. He still confuses the accelerator with the brake pedal and as a result, has not only failed his driving exam six times, but also almost killed himself and his driving instructor. He can't work on his college essay without writing a searing tell-all. But what's freaking Charlie out the most is that while his hormones are raging and his peers are pairing off, he remains alone with his fantasies.

But all of this is about to change when a new guy at school begins to liven things up on the soccer team--and in Charlie's life. For the first time in his seventeen years, Charlie will learn how it feels to be a star, well, at least off the field. But Charlie discovers that even cool guys have problems as he embarks on a deliciously sexy, risk-filled journey from which there is no turning back. . .

The Screwed Up Life of Charlie the Second is a funny, honest and engaging book, told with attitude and style. Drew Ferguson is a talented writer with great comic timing, and an eye for the absurd." --Bart Yates, author of The Brothers Bishop and The Distance Between Us

"Drew Ferguson's debut novel is equally funny and smart, and will strike eerily familiar chords in anyone who remembers the edgy, frustrating, sex-obsessed days and nights of high school. You'll love his narrator, Charlie, and you'll also love this book." --Scott Heim, author of Mysterious Skin and We Disappear

"Look out Napoleon Dynamite, here comes Charlie the Second! In this page-turning laugh riot, Drew Ferguson captures the voice of Today's Teen conquering the daily drudge that is Life in the Midwest. Colorfully candid, unapologetically explicit, yet touchingly tender, The Screwed Up Life of Charlie the Second serves as a reminder to those who've escaped from Small Town USA as to the reasons why!" --Frank Anthony Polito, author of Band Fags!

"A terrific debut novel. Drew Ferguson is one of the most authentic new voices in contemporary fiction." --Steve Kluger, author of Almost Like Being in Love

"Written in a fact-paced diary format, Ferguson has created a beautiful and moving novel that literally has you laughing out loud one moment and shedding tears the next." --Arthur Wooten, author of On Picking Fruit and Fruit Cocktail

"Lots of blurbs in lots of books promise "laugh-out-loud hilarity." This book delivers. With Charlie the Second, Drew Ferguson has created a memorable and original character undergoing the perils, confusion, and humiliation of adolescence. Between onanistic sexcapades that would make Alexander Portnoy blush, The Screwed Up Life of Charlie the Second is an engagingly accurate portrayal of the highs and lows of growing up and figuring out who you are." --Brian Costello, author of The Enchanters vs. Sprawlburg Springs

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780758227089
Publisher: Kensington
Publication date: 09/01/2008
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Drew Ferguson received his MFA in creative writing from Columbia College, Chicago. His work has appeared in Blithe House Quarterly, The James White Review, Hair Trigger, The Great Lawn, and other publications. He currently resides in Chicago.

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Screwed up Life of Charlie the Second 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As he begins his senior year of high school, Charlie Stewart is your classic 17 year old cynical and sarcastic geek ... somewhat like a 'Napoleon Dynamite,' except he is growing up as a constantly-horny openly-gay teen, in a suburban town outside of Chicago. His parents accept their son's sexuality, although they suffer from the usual teen-parent communication problems that make Charlie (named after his ambitious and somewhat overbearing father, whom he refers to simply as 'First') feel alienated from them. Bink, His best friend since second grade, is a straight jock (and the subject of many of Charlie's frequent masturbatory fantasies) whose new girlfriend monopolizes most of his time, and leaving Charlie's only real connection with his peers as the goalie for the school's somewhat-successful soccer team. In the months that follow, Charlie finds his first love, with Rob, a new boy in town with a mother dying of ALS. He also deals with the possibility of his parents divorcing, unwittingly getting involved in some of his friends' family conflicts, uncertainty about his future, as he becomes a more self-assured and ambitious young man. The book is structured as a series of entries in Charlie's private journal, a gimmick I usually frown on, but it's perfect here in letting us get to better know Charlie's feelings and concerns, as well as his mindset in working through problems. His takes on his classmates, teachers and his parents are very perceptive and always hilarious, and you can't help but root for Charlie in his encounters with the 'P's' (his parents) and how he bears up to torment by his peers at school, on the soccer field, and around town. Charlie's struggles ring familiar to the 'inner geek' in all of us, and he gives us hope for everyone going through such struggles. This is a witty, realistic, engaging and well-written 'coming-of-age' novel by a promising new author, which I enthusiastically give five stars out of five!
HonourableHusband on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Funny, touching and cool. Heartily recommended.
aimless22 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An interesting account of a gay teenager names Charlie. His life, his parents, his loves, his hates. Some graphic descriptions of his encounters with his boyfriend provided much more information than I was expecting. The Sting tag is due to a funny piece about his mother (pg 93) and his manipulation of the lyrics to King of Pain."Nothing says angry-slash-angst-slash-artsy misunderstood, sensitive middle-aged, all-my-dreams-are-dead soccer mom like a blind devotion to Sting and REM." The story follows the basic coming-of-age travails that many authors have explored with the added ingredient of homosexuality.
DaleQ on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My sister lent me this book. In doing so she said that there's more sex in it than what she usually reads, but she thought it was appropriate to the topic. It's not more sex than what I usually read but I agree it's appropriate to the topic, although I think it will unfortunately limit the audience.This is a YA ("Young Adult" - library/publishing term for books aimed at kids age 12-21 or so) novel about a 17-year-old gay male high school senior in the Chicago suburbs. It's a serio-comic first person story, crafted as Charles James Stewart's journal. His father - whom he refers to as "First" - is also Charles James Stewart, which is how he comes to think of himself as Charlie the Second.A lot happens in Charlie's senior year - social changes (his best friend since elementary school has more time for a new girlfriend than for Charlie), relationship developments (his first boyfriend), a rocky time in his parents' marriage, etc. Charlie has a clever, snarky approach to life and he's very, very funny, often in a self-deprecating way. He's also kind of obsessed with sex, and much of the journal concerns masturbatory activities, sexual fantasies, and - eventually - actual interpersonal sex. The sexual descriptions are explicit and frequent and, unfortunately, will probably rule the book out for a lot of the target audience, or at least for the parents who buy them books.Still, there's lots here for adult adults. Charlie is a fully realized and well-developed character and he grows and develops throughout the book. It's not a coming out book - he is already out well before the book starts - but rather a coming of age one. I liked that it's not a book about being gay but a book about a gay kid growing up. Charlie learns things about his parents, about family relationships, friendship, and sexuality and he often learns them with pain and difficulty. The other characters are all seen through Charlie's somewhat self-absorbed adolescent eyes, and Ferguson does a great job of letting the reader know things about them through Charlie's descriptions and experiences that Charlie himself does not realize. The sex is sometimes comic, sometimes poignant, often hot, and always very, very real. As is Charlie.Highly recommended
KDH_Reviews More than 1 year ago
I was certainly not aware of how sexually graphic the book was going to be beforehand (not that I probably wouldn't have read it anyway). I get that teenage boys are nearly obsessed with sex, but it felt like overkill to me. I would have liked to see Charlie a bit more fleshed out as a character than he was. I'm sure Charlie could be a sex obsessed maniac and still had more depth. And while the book is marketed as YA, this book is better suited for older teens (16+). Overall, the only part of the book that's likely to stick with me is the fact that Charlie is probably the world's horniest teenager. That being said, there were parts that I enjoyed and I did find myself laughing out loud a few times. 2.5/5 stars
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Joseph Tidline More than 1 year ago
I admit that i relate to the character a lot especially when i was in high school. Very readable and witty.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's not unusual for young adult novel writers to use first-person narrative to get the reader inside the protagonist's head; "Screwed-Up Life" does this with the additional twist of the text being a journal of protagonist Charlie (though it's a stretch these days to think that teenagers still write journals). The challenge with a teenage character is that, like teenagers in real life, they can be exasperating with their oblivious to others focus. The reader's take on this novel will largely depend on whether you find Charlie 1) amusing and realistic or 2) annoying and self-absorbed. I tended to lean towards the second impression. Ferguson's novel captures high school cruelty well. The plot takes a surprising curve near the end that seems set up to bring Charlie a new perspective on his parents. And it is satisfying to see Charlie get some revenge on his tormenters. So, it's a tough call; if you empathize with Charlie, you may very well love this book. I didn't, so I have reservations about recommending "Charlie the Second."
princessthundercloud More than 1 year ago
I've been reading a lot of coming-out/coming-of-age novels lately, and this is the best I've read recently. Charlie is already out when the story opens, but the novel is mostly concerned with how Charlie grows into himself. It's incredibly painful to read about some parts of his life, but also made me laugh out loud. He's so easy to love and respect by the end. Very reminiscent of "Napoleon Dynamite", but better. Things you should know: this is an 'R' rated novel. The sex scenes aren't graphic, but they are pretty explicit. The painful things that happen to Charlie aren't white-washed, but are described in cringe-making detail.
ard08 More than 1 year ago
I had to read this book for a summer project. I absolutely loved this book. It was juicy and I couldnt get enough of it. There was never a dull moment! Reading the first couple of pages it's a little wierd. He talks about his male parts, and his "sex-life". You get a little creeped out by how strong the book is starting off, at just the beginning! Then, you get hooked in! I recommend this book to any one looking for a dramatic but thrilling book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago