I Love You, Beth Cooper by Larry Doyle is a very funny, at times even sweet, novel set in one night at the end of high school. On the day of his graduation, Denis Cooverman (uber nerd) uses his valedictorian speech to confess his love to Beth Cooper (cheerleader, pretty, insanely popular girl). Denis has never really spoken to Beth, but he’s sat behind her in class and stared longingly at the back of her head for years. After the graduation, Beth tells him it was a sweet thing to do, and Denis bites the bullet and asks her to a (non existent) party at his house later that night. Little does he know that this invitation is going to set in motion a night that will be the best time he ever had in high school. And give him some major injuries.
Beth’s boyfriend also happens so be at the graduation, and he’s on leave from the army. And he’s very territorial when it comes to Beth. He and his three friends make up some of the characters in the book, which also includes Denis’ best friend, Rich Munsch, a boy who can’t stop quoting films, along with their year of release and director. Together he and Denis are known as Dick Muncher and The Penis. And then there’s the Trinity, with Beth’s friends Cammy and Treece making up the trio.
The main thing that has stayed with me about this book is the characters and their dialogue. It is an incredibly funny book, but mostly thanks to what is said and how it is said, than the shenanigans that go on. It’s quite the night for Denis, and a lot happens, but the situations alone aren’t enough to keep you reading. The one liners and quick comebacks had me laughing out loud, however. And Doyle is a skilled writer, as he builds characters throughout the book that are believable even when doing or saying crazy things. Nothing seemed too crazy coming from these guys. And he doesn’t go the safe route of making Beth too nice. She’s actually not all that nice, for the most part, but I still liked her. She was a much more interesting character than a lot of the bland girls you usually get in books like this.
It’s a solidly entertaining book. It borrows a lot from teen movies, and I enjoyed trying to place the epigraphs in each chapter. It slows down a little in the middle and becomes a bit repetitive, with an unnecessary trip to the school thrown in, but I guess there’s only so much a group of kids can get up to in one night. And that’s a minor quibble really. All in all, a fun read. It’s not likely to make you think profound thoughts, but it should at least make you laugh quite a bit. And sometimes that’s all you really need from a book.
Great review! Thanks Carrie :)