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Kick Me: Adventures in Adolescence Paperback – September 24, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

These interlocking essays on everything from a sadistic gym teacher and geeky after-class pastimes to obsessive romantic tendencies and a prom that wasn't the best night of the author's life are terrifically entertaining, although undoubtedly imaginatively amped up for maximum readability. Feig is the creator of the late-'90s sitcom Freaks and Geeks, a sort of Wonder Years for the Dungeons and Dragons set. Much of the show was based on Feig's own childhood, and this memoir is, in a way, the show's literary equivalent. After Mr. Wendell, Feig's seventh-grade gym teacher, orders a bunch of big, mean classmates to pile on top of Feig and pummel him as he stumbles out of the locker-room showers, the author recalls, "They all started to get off me one at a time, laughing and congratulating each other on a job well done.... All I could do was stand there and think about the fact that this was merely the first day of gym class. Nine more months of pre-teen locker room torture awaited me." But Feig gets the last laugh. Blessed with the sensitivity that landed him in such trouble when young, he lightly slices and dices the social cunning of all the bullies unfortunate enough to enter his orbit. True to form, Feig's mini-hit was canceled after one season, leading to a futile mass uprising, including a full-page ad in Variety, from his fans, who were disenchanted by yet another of life's downers. It is that very audience who will adore this originally written, imaginatively comic missive.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School-Readers will find plenty to relate to in these true stories of teacher's pets, proms, and riding the school bus. The book succeeds because of the universality of the situations. Feig is not the first person to hate gym class, nor will he be the last, but he recounts his various experiences so vividly that a situation as common as snooping for presents in a parent's closet takes on an extra level of paranoia and humor. Most of the reminiscences are decidedly tame. The author panics when his school-dance date drinks a beer and panics again when he thinks that he might have to kiss her after the beer makes her sick-especially since he has never kissed a girl at all. Some of the stories read like a lighter David Sedaris-there is even one about Feig's stint as an elf, albeit in the first-grade Christmas pageant, rather than the Macy's of Sedaris's Holidays on Ice (Little, Brown, 1997). In fact, despite the subtitle, more than half the book takes place in elementary and middle school. Teens will find lots to laugh at and relate to in these tales of insecure geekdom, even though the events took place more than 20 years ago, in the time of Olivia Newton-John records and polyester pants.
Jamie Watson, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Three Rivers Press; 1 edition (September 24, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0609809431
  • ISBN-13: 978-0609809433
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #78,554 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Eileen on March 19, 2004
Format: Paperback
Remember those times in grade school when you were picked on or laughed at? The gym class you couldn't wait to end? That awkward first encounter with the opposite sex? Those tense moments performing in front of your classmates? Paul Feig's adolescent angst will make yours seem trivial in comparison. These essays about his experiences as an insecure, picked-on, but yet ever-hopeful kid from the wrong side of the popularity tracks will have you laughing and nodding as you recognize some of those same scenes from your own childhood.
Paul was a quiet and fearful boy obsessed with germs, undressing in the boy's locker room, and dealing with girls. He alternately either tried to gain acceptance from, or avoided the attention of, the other kids... all of which, of course, made him the target of ridicule or worse. He describes every anxious moment in his childhood from his unusual homemade elf costume in his first grade class play to his misgivings about his date at the senior prom. I suffered along with him on horrendous school bus trips. I felt sympathy for him when his teacher mispronounced his last name, prompting his classmates to dub him with an unfortunate permanent nickname. I cringed at his Little League and football announcer fiascos. I rooted for him when he performed in the school talent show. I worried about his decision to dress in his Mom's clothing for Halloween. And above all else, I laughed.
These stories are not just funny, however. They are masterpieces of observation about the social interactions among kids, or between kids and their parents and teachers. The anecdotes are undoubtedly exaggerated for effect, yet they ring true because they describe every adolescent's fears of fitting in. I recommend this well written and highly entertaining book.
Eileen Rieback
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Robert Wellen on December 21, 2002
Format: Paperback
Paul Feig is a gifted writer and director. As a fan of his work on Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared, I was excited to read his memoir. His book is actually better than most of his TV work. There is a poignancy to the writing that really stands out (and could be found in some of his TV work too), but the book is always better than the movie anyway. The book is hilariously blunt. Most of us had one or two of these embarrassing events happen to us as children, but how many of us had 278 pages worth? You will indeed laugh so hard that you will cry and perhaps even want to cry. Feig is clearly one of the good guys. He remembers a time that was indeed simpler--but not one that has gone away. Every kid has his traumas reading about his make your own more endurable. I'm recommending this extraordinary book to everyone I know. If only more people had his honesty and insights, the young adult world would be a better place. Nevertheless, kids like Feig make super adults.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan Monaco on May 12, 2004
Format: Paperback
I picked up this book because I loved the show Freaks & Geeks. You see, Paul Feig, author of this book, also created the show. This book definetly fits right along, side by side, with Freaks & Geeks.
Paul Feig tells of his geeky and embarrasing adventure throughout school. Never have I laughed so much from reading a book. From his showering in gym escapade to the first time he discovered, erm, self love.
This is a must read for anyone who ever felt left out or completely embarrased during their school days. In fact this should be part of the required reading for school kids so they can see it could always be worse.
All jocks and cheerleader should pass, as they'll probably laughing at instead of with.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Steve on January 14, 2003
Format: Paperback
Without a doubt, if Paul Feig's KICK ME: ADVENTURES IN ADOLESCENCE were to suddenly become the next zeitgeist in comedic culture, it would be a totally justifiable harmonic convergence- all the evidence and reasoning behind such justification would be manifest within its pages. KICK ME will challenge the gut with all of its laughter-inducing anecdotes, all suffered by the hapless Mr. Feig- in a sense, the tome is like a literary version of a happy form of ipecac syrup, where guffaws are brought up instead of bile. So if you're feeling a bit disgruntled or are having a bad day, simply pluck this book from the shelf and use it to get rid of the agent which is poisoning your system.
KICK ME is a collection of stories which chronicle the abject youthful misadventures- forget what the title refers to them as, you definitely have to preface that third word with a mis- of Paul Feig, whose genius mind somehow extracted the quality-show to end all quality-shows, the unfortunately ephemeral FREAKS AND GEEKS, from the chaotic ether of unformed ideas and concepts (wherever/whatever the [heck] that is). Actually, I should take that back; forget this nonsense of a fantastical land that a Muse travels to for the benefit of its Master, bringing back raw, shapeless notions; in Mr. Feig's case, the lightbulbs were already there in his experiences, and his memoir is the proof, the explanation even, behind the eighteen episodes defining the socioecological parameters of circa-1980 high school fauna (which probably smoked a lot of flora in its time, to be sure). That show is not to be missed, and neither is this book.
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