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High School Is the Penalty for Transgressions Yet to Be Specified

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | July 16, 2009 |

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | July 16, 2009 |

The headline on this one nearly sent my heart into spasms. I’ve known for a while that Frank Portman’s King Dork had been optioned for the big screen by Adam McKay and Will Ferrell. And this morning came word that Seth Gordon is in talks to direct it. I have incredibly mixed feelings on this. First, King Dork is my favorite book of the last five years. It’s the perfect blend of J.D. Salinger, Chuck Klosterman, and Veronica Mars, and it’s just a flat-out phenomenal coming-of-age novel. It’s not great literature, but it’s immensely entertaining, irreverent, smart, and sweet. And though it certainly has some great cinematic potential, I saw what they did to I Love You, Beth Cooper, and I’d hate to have see same thing happen to King Dork.

The good news, however, is that Seth Gordon directed the outstanding documentary, The King of Kong, which explores a couple of guys angling for the Donkey Kong video game record. And it’s far more weird and interesting than it has any right to be. Unfortunately, Gordon also directed Four Christmases, starring Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon. And it sucked Donkey Kong’s balls.

All I’m saying is: Please don’t screw it up, Mr. Gordon.

Incidentally, Frank Portman has a new book, Andromeda Klein, coming out in August.

And here’s King Dork’ synopsis:

Tom Henderson (a.k.a. King Dork, Chi-mo, Hender-fag, and Sheepie) is a typical American high school loser until he discovers the book, The Catcher in the Rye, that will change the world as he knows it. When Tom discovers his deceased father’s copy of the Salinger classic, he finds himself in the middle of several interlocking conspiracies and at least half a dozen mysteries involving dead people, naked people, fake people, ESP, blood, a secret code, guitars, monks, witchcraft, the Bible, girls, the Crusades, a devil head, and rock and roll. And it all looks like it’s just the tip of a very odd iceberg of clues that may very well unravel the puzzle of his father’s death and-oddly-reveal the secret to attracting semihot girls. Being in a band could possibly be the secret to the girl thing-but good luck finding a drummer who can count to four.

If you’re a fan of coming-of-age novels rich in pop-culture and literary allusions, I highly recommend it, especially for anyone who loves or hates Catcher in the Rye.

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.