The Graduate

Yeah, but the book was better.

Sure it was, smarty pants. Everyone knows the book was better. It doesn’t matter what you’re talking about, the book is almost always better.

So it should come as no surprise that one of the greatest teen movies ever isn’t even a movie. It’s a book, a new novel by Larry Doyle called I Love You, Beth Cooper.

A smart, incredibly funny pastiche of the high-school-is-almost-over-so-I-might-as-well-declare-my-love genre, Doyle’s book begins on the dais at the commencement ceremony for Buffalo Grove High School, where sweaty valedictorian Denis Cooverman says the titular line in front of the entire senior class.

Cooverman’s a clever kid, but there are two crucial facts he fails to consider when making this declaration:

1) She’s the head cheerleader.

2) He’s captain of the debate team.

And thus begins one helluva graduation night, complete with Cooverman getting his ass kicked repeatedly, his best friend deciding he’s gay, warm champagne, angry raccoons and, maybe, just maybe, a kiss from the girl of his dreams.

Doyle’s writing is fast-paced and full of self-aware nods to the audience, such as:

He occasionally worried his life might be an independent film, or worse, a Swedish flick, but he chose to behave as if the movie he lived was a raucous teen comedy and he was somebody like Ferris Bueller or Otter from Animal House, or, worst-case scenario, that guy who fucked a pie.

This book is a must for anyone who likes to read but really prefers to watch movies but, dammit, wants to read something occasionally. And it’s also good for people who actually like books too. – Keith Plocek

I Love You, Beth Cooper, Ecco, $19.95

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