Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Book Review: Choppy Socky Blues by Ed Briant

Title: Choppy Socky Blues

Author: Ed Briant

Pages: 264

Received from: publisher


Jason's dad is every kid's role model—a movie stuntman with a black belt and his own karate school. But to fourteen-year-old Jason, he's a top-ranking creep for chucking his family two years ago. Since then, Jason's done all he can to distance himself from his father, including giving up karate. But then he meets Tinga, a strong and smart girl who's testing for her blue belt in two weeks. When Jason sputters out that he's testing for the same rank, the lie sparks Tinga's interest
. . . and leads Jason to his dad, the one person who can get him ready in time.

Unfortunately, Tinga's going out with Malcolm, Jason's childhood friend and a guy who could send him to the hospital with one flying tornado kick. Stealing his friend's girl . . . training in karate again . . . Is Jason doomed to be a chip off the old block?

When I picked up Choppy Socky Blues, you know what I was expecting? The very thing you could expect from a book with "choppy" or "socky" in the title--cheeseball fun. Maybe a little life lesson, but nothing too serious. That's what I got, and that is so fucking great because I am sick to death of cutesy books sneaking up on you with Big Bad Bidness. It makes me sad.

Anyway, Choppy Socky Blues (let's call it CSB because I feel silly typing that more then three times) is about this kid, Jason, who pretty much has it in his head that his dad abandoned the family for his career as a stuntman. So in a perfectly a-typical Cut Your Nose to Spite Your Face fashion, he gives up karate, the one thing he loves. And he starts gaining weight, which I feel is important because it leaves to some comical incidents later on.

But, his standing falters when he--of course--he meets a girl (while buying a porno, but that's beside the point). She's testing for her next belt and, whadda know, apparently so is he! They promised to show up at each other's testing, and he knows he can't show up to her dojo for some quicky training, and since there's only one other one in the whole town, he has to swallow his pride and ask his dad for help. Shenanigans ensue.

In my opinion, CSB has fun with itself but it never really has much appeal for older teens. I'm not sure what it's filed under, but aside from some chaste porn references the whole thing was very PG. I personally couldn't enjoy it as much as I would have hoped (even though I love Daddy Issues as well as male narrators) simply because you can tell it's trying super hard to be light and fun while also available for mature YA audiences, but it never really works, you know? In that aspect anyway.

As I've said, CSB never really takes itself too seriously, so there isn't much to be said about the characters besides Jason's self-pitying was rather tiresome at times, especially when it came to his dad. I mean, I get daddy issues, I do. But it's not like he left the state to get away from you, kid. He still resides in the same town, which is more then a lot of father's can say. Cut the dude a break you pansy.

If your looking for a quick airplane read or something, CSB is definetly right for you.

Rating: 6 out of 10


Emma said...

Damn I love your reviews.

I'll be skipping past this one. Cool title and cover, though!

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