You Dirty Panda

lolitoOh God. This book was so disgustingly filthy I feel like I should go out and buy a copy for everyone I know who has a sick sense of humor like a 15-year-old boy. That means I would buy five copies for myself because I don’t know anyone else who is as immature as a 15-year-old boy. Except for me.

In Lolito by Ben Brooks, 15-year-old Etgar Allison is home alone during a school vacation. His girlfriend is away on some sun drenched island with her father. Etgar inadvertently finds out she cheated on him back at home, kissing some guy at a party. He spends most of his vacation raiding his father’s liquor cabinet and drinking his whiskey and watching porn because he’s a fifteen year old boy left home alone with his dog and his worsening depression over his girlfriend’s infidelity.

Etgar gets massively bored and decides to go online into an adult chatroom and meets Macy, a ’35’ year old woman in Scotland. And thus begins their raunchy cybersex….uh…. relationship. She doesn’t know he’s a fifteen year old boy sitting at home during a school vacation, letting the dog poop in the house because he’s too depressed to let him out. Etgar is so depressed he starts wearing a panda suit. Don’t ask. His friends try to get him out of the house-usually to a party to get him drunk. Seriously, what is it with British kids drinking all the time? Why not a nice quiet night at home getting tipsy and reading a book but not using the oven because you should never use the oven when you’ve been drinking at home alone. So I’ve been told.

’35’ year old Macy decides that she and Etgar should meet up. Meet up is a fancy term for get it on bang a gong. Etgar panics but only a little since he’s a 15-year-old boy and the promise of sex with a beautiful older woman would be enough to get him to eat lava. Etgar has a little inheritance from his grandmother. He uses it to book a hotel room in London. When I was 15 I was still riding my bike all over the place and watching cartoons. To be fair, I’m now 38, my bicycle is rusting in the garage and I still watch cartoons. I’m a real wild card. Watch out.

What happens next with Etgar and Macy….dear God. You will just have to read the book to find out. Graphic, lewd, crude and hilarious, Lolito had me giggling to myself like the immature 15-year-old boy I am. On the inside.

Grow Up

Grow Up by Ben Brooks is a dirty, dirty book. It is a wonderfully filthy book. 

I think I might have to buy it.

The only things the teenagers in this book know how to do are drink, do drugs, do each other and then wake up to do it all over again. My liver hurts just from reading how much alcohol they consume at a party (or on a Tuesday afternoon after school for that matter…if they went to school at all.)  These are the kind of teens that surprise you when you hear they made it to 30.

I found a generation of charming slackers in Ben Brook’s novel set in present day England. I didn’t even know slackers could be charming. Here’s what you need to know:   

1)      17-year-old Jasper and his friends get high. Daily. Sometimes hourly.

2)      Jasper wants to finish his novel. 

3)      Jasper wants to make sure his best friend doesn’t commit suicide. 

4)      Jasper wants to find out he’s not a father because of a drunken (and very blurry) encounter with a school friend. 

5)      Jasper wants to have sex with a girl he knows is perfect for him.

Then there’s Jonah, Tenaya and Ping, his best friends, who come with their own set of woes and whom Jasper guides through the big and small hurdles of being 17, even if it’s a drug-addled 17.

Most of all, Jasper wants t the world to know his stepfather is a wife-killer:

I am certain Keith is a murderer. If you look at his history close enough, you can see that his ex-wife seems to just disappear, benefiting him in the process.

I’m from the Generation X era (although what a letter of the alphabet has to do with being a miserable teenager is beyond me) while Jasper’s generation is known as Generation Facebook. They all may seem to be nothing but a bunch of aimless idiots, but they wonder what they’re going to do with their lives once they graduate high school. 

I’m 35 and am still asking myself what I want to do with my life. No seriously, I have no clue. At the end of this hilarious novel not one of the characters knows what they’ll be doing in 5 years and I liked that fact. I didn’t want a nice tidy ending because, let’s face it, life is neither nice or tidy.

So if you find yourself meandering through life (at the age of 35 or 80) not knowing who you are or where you’ll l be in the next five years, you’ll love Grow Up. But I’d avoid the whole drugs and alcohol scene unless you don’t mind having only two brain cells to rub together.