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Troop 142 Paperback – September 1, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Be warned: this is not a book to give to prospective Boy Scouts, and not a story about homesick children who learn the joys of community, new friendships, and never giving up. During a week in the life of Troop 142, two brothers and their father experience the conformist and sometimes dangerous principals of institutions and the often-brutal emotions young boys wield as weapons against one another. Though the two boys undergo various humiliations, and the father suffers his own inability to navigate relationships with a fellow counselor, the details are handled with effective realism, and nothing feels overblown or wantonly cruel; the camp is never portrayed as anything more grotesque than a place that simply breeds unfortunate group dynamics and moldering ideals. It is never inappropriately disturbing, and it’s all perfectly believable, right down to the profanity, homophobia, and experimental drug use, all cleverly illustrated with enough realism to give it weight but with rounded figures and minimalist features that tend to take off the sharpest edges. Grades 10-12. --Jesse Karp


Troop 142 demonstrates once again that Mike Dawson is a poet of adolescent awkwardness, digging deep into the dark side of teenage - and adult - masculinity to reveal the brittle, wounded humanity at its heart. --Dylan Horrocks, author of Hicksville

Mike Dawson has two chief virtues as a writer: writing dialogue with an almost painful level of verisimilitude, and an understanding of the dynamics of teenagers that manages to emphasize the Darwinian nature of their relationships along with the naivete of youth... Visually, the key to this comic's success is his ability to convey body language, gesture and character interaction, especially since subtext is such an important part of what s occurring in the narrative.

The comic raises interesting questions regarding the idealism of Scout law and the realities of being a teenager in 1995 (the setting of the story). Joining the Scouts implies a certain kind of adherence to ideals, but what Dawson raises is that sometimes this may be more the ideals of the parent rather than the boy. And even among the parents, the Scout ideals fall by the wayside when it comes time to wield authority.

--Rob Clough, The Comics Journal

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 268 pages
  • Publisher: Secret Acres (September 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0979960991
  • ISBN-13: 978-0979960994
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,599,664 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Mike Dawson is the author of Freddie & Me: A Coming-of-Age (Bohemian) Rhapsody a memoir of his childhood obsession with Queen, Troop 142, a sordid tale of a New Jersey Boy Scout troop away on a weeklong Summer camping trip, and Angie Bongiolatti, a story about socialism, sex, and Online Learning.

Entertainment Weekly called Freddie & Me "undeniably contagious", while the UK Daily Telegraph said it was "Charming, sincere and, above all, expressively drawn". Troop 142 was nominated for multiple Ignatz Awards, including Best Graphic Novel, and was the winner in the Best Online Comic category.

Dawson hosts the comics-related TCJ Talkies podcast at The Comics Journal.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Adam on November 1, 2011
Format: Paperback
I don't read many novels graphic or otherwise about adolescents, but Mike Dawson's recent interview with the The Comics Journal convinced me to give this a try. Troop 142 is exactly what its back-matter claims it to be, a story of the "hilarious and brutal truths about boys and men..." For how much has been made of its sophomoric humor (think "Superbad" meets "The Sandlot" in a good way), what makes Troop 142 a lasting book in a medium still developing genre standouts is its portrayal of masculinity. There are subtle rules that create a chain of command amongst a group of boys, and whether you identify with the picked-on son of troop leader Mr. Demaria or the troublesome but sincere Tony, Dawson shows these rules are established by how the group addresses each others', and their own, boyhood insecurities. It would have been easy to make this story either overly sentimental or too much of a comedy, however, Dawson achieves a sweet balance.

In short: The art and storytelling are great. You don't need to know anything about the Boy Scouts to get into it. It looks great on your bookshelf (great design). Pick up this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Andre Vospette on May 6, 2013
Format: Paperback
Based on my Boy Scout experiences, I could have written a book like this. It would have been true: Boys, even the ones who swear oaths to be friendly, courteous, kind and clean, can be epically nasty in word and deed.

In my troop, we told dirty jokes (actually, *I* told the dirty jokes. They listened). We harassed each other by throwing rocks at the roof of the Lolly (outhouse), hung a pair of dirty underwear outside a victim's tent, called each other names, and even engaged in fist fights. That's what boys do. We're awful.

But the opposite is also true. Scouts grows boys into men. We join because our parents want us to, but after that, we were on our own. We stayed because we want to be there. We were our own leaders, not the adults. And a boy long involved in scouting sets a good example to one who is just beginning. So the "Lord of the Flies" scenario, over time, evolves into something more civilized.

I liked this book. It took me back to my own days at scout camp. But I would have liked it better if the sour had been balanced with the sweet, if the experiences of Troop 142 had included some accomplishments in addition to the disappointments. The only positive interaction occurs when the Scoutmaster counsels a boy who quit the lifesaving test. Unfortunately, the book is otherwise a one-way trip that ends in despair.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Paul on May 4, 2013
Format: Paperback
It's a pretty realistic portrayal of how adolescent boys behave and talk, although I'd have to disagree with the book's synopsis that it's "hilarious or shows the resilience of the human spirit." It's more depressing as there aren't really any likeable characters since they are all so flawed and self centered. However, it is very realistic in that it shows young boys and men who are just living their lives and are unaware of anyone except themselves and trying to better their social standing in their environment; which is how most boys are unfortunately.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By shawn williams on December 28, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a scouting trip where boys are still figuring things out; how they feel about girls, altered states of reality, the chubby kid, the weaker kid, ignoring the rules, self respect, nature, and authority figures. These boys and dads have internal dialog that differs from their actions making these very layered and interesting characters. I wonder what the future is for these boys and for Big-Bear the legendary stodgy old counsel leader.
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