“Freshman” by Michael Gerber

14 Sep


Gerber's first teen novel follows Hart Fox's freshman year at prestigious if quirky New England-area Stutts University. Readers should realize that this book is an absurdist comedy aimed at older teens. Think of something along the lines of the Fox show "The Family Guy," but with more profanity. In other words, don't expect realism. You can, instead, expect to find all sorts of outlandish plots, many of which will make you laugh. Don't believe me? Well, for starters, Hart's entry into Stutts only occurs after he strikes a deal with the father of the rich and boorish Trip Darling. Hart will take all of Trip's classes, plus his own. Even better, when Mr. Darling tires of the deal, he offers the members of Trip's fraternity (Comma Comma Apostrophe) entry into an exclusive society if they take care of one small task — killing Trip! Luckily for Trip, the CCA brothers are as stupid as they are lazy (their schemes include death by butter knife as well as an attempt to raise a mummy to do the dirty work).

Need more proof that this book is a farce? Hart gets a job at the school library, working in a secret sub-basement opening up alumni donations and tossing the contents into one of four pneumatic tubes. Hart's major is the "Study of Things." All the streets around the university in Great Littleton are named for insects. Hart's girlfriend is a vampire who likes being in college so much that she hasn't left in a hundred years. And Hart's friends at the campus humor magazine, The Cuckoo, reconfigure a hearse and sail it in the school regatta.

There is some truth in this humorous take on first-year college life, and Hart is an appealing character to follow. If you're looking for something silly and somewhat serious about college, "Freshman" might be for you. And, if you really like it, keep your eyes open for a sequel on Hart's sophomore year.

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Posted by on September 14, 2006 in Uncategorized


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