Castration Celebration -- Jake Wizner
After walking in on her dad getting (as Fabian puts it in Pulp Fiction) oral pleasure from one of his grad students, Olivia has sworn off guys. So seriously that not only has she started researching castration, she's also decided to write a musical called Castration Celebration at the arts camp she's attending at Yale this summer.
Before she even manages to stow her luggage in her dorm room, though, she meets Max. Who is a total player -- a guy who doesn't know what commitment is, a guy who lets his penis make his decisions for him. Much sparring ensues, and many sparks fly.
Castration Celebration is full of quips, double entendres (and many, many single-entendres) and witty banter. As Olivia's play is modeled after Much Ado About Nothing as well as her summer experience, it's got plenty of references to Shakespeare. (And, actually, a cameo from Shakespeare himself -- not Will Shakespeare, but Shakespeare Shapiro, from Wizner's previous book.) It's ribald and lewd and bawdy and funny. The musical numbers -- including a song about Edward Cullen, oral sex and Bella's menstrual cycle sung to the tune of Sunday, Bloody Sunday -- are flat-out hilarious.
But. The characters never come close to becoming real. While their dialogue made me laugh, I never believed in Olivia or Max or any of the others. I didn't root for them, worry about them, and, when I finished the book, I had no desire to revisit them. They weren't unlikeable. I just... didn't care about them. So, by the end of the book, the humor felt tired. Because while much of it was clever -- and it certainly made me laugh -- without an emotional core, the book amounted to a 291-page dirty joke.
I'm pretty positive that due to the drugs, profanity and all of the conversations about sex (there isn't any actual on-screen sex) this one wouldn't go over well with the folks in my previous post. But I can certainly think of a few people I went to high school with who would've found it hilarious, regardless of the lack of depth.