Short review: ‘I Love You, Beth Cooper’

I Love You, Beth Cooper
By Larry Doyle

I kid you not, this is seriously the funniest book I’ve read in the last four years. During his graduation night speech, Denis Cooverman, valedictorian at Buffalo Grove High School, urges his fellow classmates to leave with no regrets for the things they wanted to say but could not. Our hero pauses for dramatic effect, and then blurts out, “I love you, Beth Cooper.” Beth — voted Most Popular and Best Looking by 513 BGHS seniors – is, predictably, a cheerleader; Denis’s team of choice is debate and his recreational reading includes the Journal of Juvenile Oncology. Graduation night heads a different direction after Denis’s memorable speech, and soon Beth and her two sidekicks are meeting up with Denis and his best friend, Rich (who, he says, is not gay and who also makes reference to his “female fiancée” who works at Hooter’s). The characters and plot may be a tad predictable, but I laughed so much I’m not sure I noticed.

The author wrote for The Simpsons, Beavis and Butt-Head, and Daria. (He also writes for The New Yorker, but since those articles are too long, I am more familiar with his multi media endeavors.) I Love You, Beth Cooper is packed with lines to savor and quote, just like an episode of The Simpsons. This is total movie material in the spirit of Dazed and Confused, and it didn’t surprise me at all to see that the book was optioned and may hit the big screen in 2009.

Here’s Dave Barry’s blurb on the back cover: “This book made me laugh out loud. I’m not saying it will make you laugh out loud. But I am saying that if it doesn’t, something is wrong with you.”

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