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Doing It by Melvin Burgess
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Doing It (original 2003; edition 2012)

by Melvin Burgess

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443None23,599 (3.33)8
Member:Sporkredfox
Title:Doing It
Authors:Melvin Burgess
Info:Square Fish (2012), Paperback, 352 pages
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Doing It by Melvin Burgess (2003)

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Showing 1-5 of 36 (next | show all)
Doing It by Melvin Burgess is what it is. It is funny and crass and full of some pretty bad (if not great) decisions. I laughed, I rolled my eyes, I put it down and picked it back up. The book centers around three boys Dino, Jon, and Ben. Each of whom have different issues surrounding girls and sex. One thing that will certainly turn some readers off of the book is that the boys are jerks. They are rude and crude and feel no compunction about making fun of their girlfriends. The book does have a lot of information that would help teens, particularly boys, with questions about intimacy and integrity. The point that this novel takes a serious downward spike, I mean almost irredeemably bad, is when Dino forces himself on a girl. He feels bad about it, but only because he can’t perform. He eventually has a relationship with her but I don’t think he, or the reader, actually understands how awful and degrading that is. I do think that this book does have a lot of other positive aspects surrounding intimacy and that teens going through similar situations, of both sexes, would/will get a lot out of the book. 4Q 4P ( )
  Anna.Nash | Jun 9, 2013 |
3Q, 4P (My VOYA ratings)
I found Doing It book to be a realistic, but slightly uncomfortable, portrayal of the sex and social lives of teenage boys and girls. The moments I really enjoyed were interactions between Jonathan and Deborah—and I know that had I read the book as a teenager, I would have seen myself in Jonathan at his most neurotic moments.
I struggled with rating this book a 3Q, but the thing keeping from rating this book higher is that I didn’t see moments that would be empowering to the reader, or even give a real “deeper meaning” to this book. It doesn’t really have a positive message: the teens rarely face consequences for their actions. I have mixed feelings about this: while it’s realistic that we don’t always face consequences for the morally reprehensible things we do, I would have liked to have seen the boys face consequences for some of their actions (especially for constantly making fun of their girlfriends in really lewd and disrespectful ways).
To elaborate, I loved that Deborah was so calm and stable compared to the other characters, but I wonder if she would have been so quick to trust Jonathan enough to have sex with her if she had known that he’d made fat sex jokes about her constantly for the entire duration of their friendship, and still, even at the end of the book, couldn’t really admit to himself or his friends that he was attracted to her. While books don’t necessarily have to have a positive message, or even a message at all, the lack of consequences made the book seem unsatisfying to me as a reader. Because of those issues, and because I don’t find that the quality of the prose makes up for them, I rated it low on the VOYA scale for quality.
However, I feel like the book would be fairly popular with students. The value in this book, for me, is in the “me too” moments. Even I could see my teenage self in some of the characters, and teenagers really need those moments. Maybe the lack of consequences is even a positive thing: teens can see in these characters things that they think would completely ruin their lives if they got out (shoplifting, cheating, “knob cancer”) and realize that they weren’t necessarily world-ending or even life-changing. Most importantly, they can see that they aren’t alone in facing those issues, and that others empathize with them. Because of the potential for these “me too” moments (and because of the fast-paced plot) I rated the book a 4P. ( )
  Sara_Killough | Jun 9, 2013 |
VOYA P5Q3
This is a colorful, exlicit, sexually-charged book about the sexual adventures of several teenagers in a variety of awkward predicaments. Because of it's pretty vile language and outrageous situations, the book is very controversial. Personally, I would not recommend this book to anyone, as I don't like the way it normalizes disgusting ways of talking about bodies and people, especially women. However, I did like how girls had just as many sexual urges and feelings as boys did in this book, which counters the idea that women should always be, do and think modestly.

" In order to stop her from talking as much as anything else, Jonathon kissed her. Deborah kissed him back, pushing herself into him. Mr. Knobby rose up at once." (194) ( )
  darlingdumpling | Apr 30, 2013 |
I never quite understood all of the British slang, and I never really quite enjoyed my experience reading this, but it was very well written, well thought-out, and there were brief points of humor about it I did like. Mostly though, I was annoyed and disgusted by the protagonists. I was horrified at least twice while reading. ( )
  Lomilia | Apr 29, 2013 |
I think the only thing I appreciated about this somewhat raunchy book was getting to hear some of the boy's inner thoughts, namely those that were not so pornographic. I did like Burgess' honesty and felt like there was a great deal of truth to it, though I couldn't help but hope that the guys I know aren't aren't like that - teen-aged or not. I thought that the way that the boys interacted with each other in the couple of scenes when they confided in each other was a positive element. It was nice to see that kind of loyalty and display of emotion.

The different perspectives of the boy's lives, as well as the very different situations they were facing, added a nice element to the book and showed the different ways that they all chose to deal with things and deal with the consequences of their actions.

Ben was my favorite character and despite his foolish affair with his teacher, he stood out as the best example. Jon's fat jokes towards Deborah were harsh, and Dino's - well Dino's lack of...everything, was over the top and quite frankly concerning.

Overall, I think it is an okay book and can be used for good, but I couldn't help but feel like I was watching a really bad reality show and wished I could separate myself from the crass icky-ness that was these boys raw, unadulterated ideas and thoughts about sexuality. ( )
  cdelli | Apr 22, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 36 (next | show all)
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"Ok," said Jonathon.
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"Shagging Miss had always been scary, but lately there were worries beginning to creep in. It wasn't just the question of where it was all going. It seemed ungrateful, but he was missing girls his own age. He sometimes felt jealous of Dino's problems with Jackie; it all seemed so sweet and innocent and sexy." p. 58
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0805080791, Paperback)

Melvin Burgess, author of Smack, has written what is potentially the most controversial young adult novel ever. Doing It is an honest and funny book about three teenage British boys learning about themselves and life through their sexual experiences. But here's the catch: the story is told from the point of view of the hormone-sodden young males, naughty bits and all.

Gorgeous Dino thinks that equally gorgeous Allie should realize that they belong together and is puzzled and frustrated when their passionate lovemaking always ends with her refusing him. Jonathan fancies sensible, sexy Deborah but can't admit it to his friends, even after several steamy grope sessions, because she is…well…plump. And Ben is living every teenage boy's dream, an affair with a lusty teacher--but somehow it's getting to be too much of a good thing.

Nearly all YA novels about love and sexuality are told by and for girls, like Judy Blume's groundbreaking classic, Forever. The contrast here is striking--as Burgess said in an interview, "I wrote Doing It because I do believe that we have let young men down very badly in terms of the kinds of books written for them. This book is my go at trying to bring young male sexual culture into writing." The result is surprising but educational for female readers. Wisely, the publisher has kept the British slang terms for sexual acts and body parts, rather than using the American four-letter words, a factor that will make the book less of a hot potato for librarians and teachers, but not diminish the reading pleasure for the inevitable hordes of young male readers. (Ages 14 and older) --Patty Campbell

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:55:29 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

"...an honest and funny book about three teenage British boys learning about themselves and life through their sexual experiences. But here's the catch: the story is told from the point of view of the hormone-sodden young males, naughty bits and all"--Amazon.com.… (more)

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» see all 5 descriptions

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