Mercy on These Teenage Chimps
On his thirteenth birthday, Ronnie woke up feeling like a chimp - all long armed, big eared, and gangly. Now his best friend, Joey, has turned thirteen, too - and after Joey humiliates himself in front of a cute girl, he climbs a tree and refuses to come down. So Ronnie sets out to woo the girl on Joey's behalf. After all, teenage chimps have to stick together.
- Paperback | 168 pages
- 124.46 x 175.26 x 10.16mm | 68.04g
- 01 Mar 2008
- Harcourt Children's Books
- United States
"* "A light-hearted, off-beat slice of life... Breezy and entertaining." - Kirkus Review."
Our customer reviews
How many books capture the angst of the teenage girl--her changing body, her constant mood swings, her unpredictable complexion and her yearning for attention from the boy of her dreams? Hundreds? Thousands? Now, how many books take the opposite point of view--how many books go into the mind of the teenage boy and capture his frustration with his seemingly disproportionate body? His struggles to understand the "crooked road" that is life(p. 123)? And, of course, the blush of first love--unrequited, but first, nevertheless. As any reader of young adult fiction knows, books unabashedly delving into the struggles of life as a teenage boy don't come along often. Author Gary Soto examines the everyday life of the adolescent male in MERCY ON THESE TEENAGE CHIMPS. According to newly-teenaged Ronnie, the transformation from boy to chimp begins on one's thirteenth birthday: "I examined my reflection in the bathroom mirror. What was this? The peachy fuzz on my chin? The splayed ears? The wide grin that revealed huge teeth? ... I wiggled my ears. My nose appeared flatter than ever" (p. 1). And, so begins this inevitable leg of the transformation from boy to man. The most intriguing aspect of this story is the sensitivity Soto explores in the characters of Ronnie and his best friend, Joey. Too often in our society, boys are taught that they are required to lose--or, at minimum, hide--their sensitivity, lest they be considered less of a man as they mature. Throughout the story, the reader is privy to Ronnie's innermost thoughts and fears, some of which he shares with Joey: "Do you think any girls will like us?" (p. 4) is one question met with silence from his best friend--well, silence and Joey's attempt to spit on his cat. Still, such raw honesty between males is eye-opening, refreshing, and too rarely conveyed in young adult literature. At times, the constant stream of chimpanzee references become a bit grating, but the honesty of the characters trumps this particular negative. Soto's MERCY ON THESE TEENAGE CHIMPS works, for male and female readers alike, comforting adolescent males and assuring females that, yes, the boys have the same awkward, frightening fears as the girls, whether they are open about their feelings or not. Have mercy!show moreby TeensReadToo