Feeling terrorized by girls, thirteen-year-old Steven and three of his friends form a club to learn how to become he-men.
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Grade 5-8. Looking for rules to put order in his life, eighth-grader Steven invokes the relatively innocent old "Spanky and Our Gang" clubhouse culture and creates "The He-Man Woman Hater's Club." He rescues small, weak Jerome from a snowball attack by Monica and her Girl Scout cohorts; the two boys are soon joined by sassy, tough-as-nails Wolfbang in his wheelchair; and Ling Ling, a hulk whose clothes accentuate his physical similarity to the famous giant panda of the same name. Weird? You bet. Steven, his Uncle Lars, and his father each have 39 chest hairs. It's never really explained how this could be or why it matters, but Steven assumes "Johnny Chesthair" as his moniker. Uncle Lars, initially benign, takes the boys to meet "Captains America," his group of male, paramilitary wackos. The groups' appearance on a local confrontational TV talk show provides the climactic incident with Monica that seems, strangely enough, almost normal, as Jerome summons the courage to appear, Wolfbang revels in celebrity, Ling talks tough, and Steven vomits. Lynch is again stretching traditional boundaries, touching on issues like violence, identity, parents, mother love/father hate (Steven's dad, Buster, really is a misogynistic jerk) but without the crude language common in his books for older readers. This first installment in a new series is short, gross, absurd, intense, and edgy. The humor is so idiosyncratic, reminiscent of Walter Dean Myers's The Righteous Revenge of Artemis Bonner (HarperCollins, 1992) in tone, that it has a certain power and will likely find an audience.?Joel Shoemaker, Southeast Jr. High School, Iowa City, IA
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
In this series launch of The He-Man Women Haters Club, the ever-prolific Lynch (Political Timber; the Blue-Eyed Son trilogy) engagingly addresses questions important to the average adolescent male, namely: what is a "strong" man, and what to do about girls? Inspired by "a couple of right thinkers named Spanky and Alfalfa" and their antics in an Our Gang installment, narrator Steven decides that the only way to get strong and deal with women-particularly a redheaded Amazon named Monica-is to form a guys-only club, with himself as imperial leader and rule-maker. His friend Jerome, who "has a hockey player's grit, tamped down into a chess-club body," quickly finds two other misfits to fill out the membership: wheelchair-bound tough-guy Wolfgang and the fearsome-looking yet lachrymose Ling-Ling. But although he tries to take charge and be a "Johnny Chesthair" like his bullying father and survivalist uncle, Steven soon finds that the club is out of his control. To add insult to injury, he embarrasses himself on TV and the women he sought to terrorize are laughing at him (although astute readers will observe that Monica appears to have a crush on him). Steven's impeachment as club president paves the way for the second installment, Babes in the Woods, narrated by Jerome (due for simultaneous release). Though the tone is light-at least on the surface-and the pace snappy, there is plenty of food for thought here on the subject of male identity and gender relations. Ages 8-12.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Harpercollins, 1997. Library Binding. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX006027414X
Book Description Harpercollins, 1997. No binding. Book Condition: New. New item. Bookseller Inventory # QX-001-X4-9169009