dodgeball-highDodgeball High
Bradley Sands
Eraserhead Press
October 1, 2014
Reviewed by Marvin Vernon

An open letter to Holden Caulfield:

Hello, Mr. Caulfield.

It’s been a while since we first communicated. Over 50 years to be exact. That was when you were slumming away on your forced vacation by expulsion from Pencey Prep. Thanks to your friend, J. D. Salinger, you have become the world’s most famous slacker. All this time and you haven’t aged a bit. That is one of the advantage of being a literary fictional icon. But another thing the years hasn’t change is this…

You are still a whiny bitch.

Well, it is time to get over yourself because in the 21th century you have a replacement. His name is Justin Lucas and he is, in his own words: “very handsome, nice, smart, athletic, and funny. I’m the coolest kid on the planet.” He is a lot like you. He clearly thinks he is cooler than he really is. But he doesn’t whine about no wimpy private academy. He goes to a real school…<


Yes! The same school immortalized in Bradley Sand’s novel of the same name (that means that the title of the book is Dodgeball High, Holden, since you are a slow learner). While you are bummed about losing fencing equipment, Justin is dodging exploding and spiked balls in a game where losing is often fatal. Where you moan about the hypocrisies in life, Justin is maneuvering in a school that celebrates them while grooming its students to be world class psychopaths. Where you just moan about having sex, Justin is screwing a girl that likes to kill her partner and eat his heart. Now that is real teenage angst!

And Dodgeball High is funny too. Justin has enough to worry about with just staying alive. But he still has time to prim his awesome mustache and cover his stupid lines with “Just Kidding!”. Plus considering how violent this school is, Justin always knows his priorities:

Girls punching dudes in the face is kind of messed up but sort of sexy, which is even more messed up since my turn-ons usually include giant titties shaking rather than extreme violence.

So here is what I think you should do, Holden old buddy. Read Dodgeball High and enter the 21st century. Introduce yourself to what may be the funniest and most accessible book in the Bizarro genre. A book where extreme violence and extreme laughs exist on every page. A book that asks the question: does true love exist or is it just a depository for dismembered body parts? And don’t worry about finding a hidden message that will transform the next generation. There may be one but I doubt it. If you do find one, don’t tell me what it is. It might mess up the fun.

So Holden, that is pretty much it. Don’t take me wrong. You are still OK for a whiny bitch and Catcher in the Rye is actually a very cool book. But it doesn’t hold a candle to deadly dodgeball games, a homicidal principal, and genocidal sport teams. Enjoy, old buddy.

About Marvin P. Vernon

Marvin P. Vernon runs The Novel Pursuit, a review blog emphasizing horror, mystery and science fiction.

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