Haven’t seen this book on your library shelf? Or in the high school classroom? Well, that’s a shame. But I’m sure it might have something to do with the controversial language and content. Yeah, the content of Doing It by Melvin Burgess (Henry Holt) is “mature,” but this is a phenomenal read, one that I recommend to teens and to adults who used to be teens. It’s so well put together, that I’d even call this novel a “must read.”
I’d also highly recommend this novel to young adult authors who want to read a great example of author’s “voice.” The voice in this piece seizes you right from page one.
When I say “I couldn’t put this book down,” I mean it. I was glued to the couch and read it from start to finish, and was sorry when it was done. I laughed, I gasped in horror, I bit my nails with worry. Not many novels do that for me.
The book shares the mindset and voice of the incredible British TV show SKINS. So much so that I was convinced Burgess was a co-creator of the series, but this seems not to be. (Actually, the TV series Life as We Know It was based on this novel.) Like SKINS, Doing It follows the lives of a group of Brit teens as they obsess about themselves and about sex, as they lean on their friends, and muddle through life dealing with some serious issues as well. Parental infidelity. Adult manipulation. Character scarring events. Plummeting self esteem. Heartache.
You can’t help but be drawn in by the shocking language, and brutally frank thoughts. So honest. So spot on. And, I might add, not at all vicarious. This book isn’t one of those stupid shocker tales. It’s brilliant and witty. And it shows how teens really are, at least at times.
This is a book to share among friends, so please do! Like I said, because of the content, you might not find it on a library shelf or in a classroom, even though it so deserves to be there. Seek this title out, devour it, and enjoy!