Do-Over!: In which a forty-eight-year-old father of three returns to kindergarten, summer camp, the prom, and other embarrassmentsby Robin Hemley
Robin Hemley’s childhood made a wedgie of his memory, leaving him sore and embarrassed for over forty years. He was the most pitiful kindergartner, the least spirited summer camper, and dateless for prom. In fact, there’s nary an event from his youth that couldn’t use improvement. If only he could do them all over a few decades later, with an adult’s wisdom, perspective, and giant-like height…
Despite being bigger and taller, Robin learns that the bullies haven’t gone away. Neither have the papier-mâché projects, his bedroom at his childhood home, or the senior prom, which he finally gets a second chance at going to—at his actual former high school, with his actual teenage crush.
In the spirit of cult film classics like Billy Madison and Wet Hot American Summer, DO-OVER! brings readers the thrill of recapturing a misspent youth and discovering what’s most important: simple pleasures, second chances, and the forgotten joys of recess.
There were a lot of laugh-out-loud moments in this book, like when he’s playing pretend in kindergarten. One of the kids has borrowed a book Hemley has with him and they are using it as a pretend recipe book, A Million Little Pizzas.
He pulls out a plastic pizza from the oven and says, “You want sauswidge?” Then he offers me an array of drinks, including Dr Pepper, Coke, and “things that kids can’t have,” which, he elaborates, means alcohol. A kindergartner serving up pretend alcohol, out of a pretend recipe book, made from a pretend memoir about alcohol addiction, to a pretend kindergartner. Sounds like a dangerous mix, so I opt for water instead. (pg. 19 ARC)
Hemley’s got a great sense of humor and it really is funny seeing the lives of kids and teenagers through an adult’s eye. He also makes some wonderful observations about human nature. It amazes me how willingly the kids accepted him as one of themselves. They let him in on their games and didn’t expect him to moderate fights.
The faculty and other adults he ran into during his project had mixed reactions, but most seemed to understand. I, however, didn’t. I just didn’t get this book or his project. It was funny, but really, what was the point? I know: to have a do-over, to make new memories, to find some degree of closure, to become a better father to his own kids. It sounds good, but to be honest, I just didn’t get it. I felt like it was a waste of my time. I was amused fairly often, but I didn’t care about Hemley or his “project” and really thought it was kind of odd. I think I’d be creeped out if a 48 year-old man was joining Amber’s class or camp for a week – as a student. Maybe the fact that I can’t ever imagine wanting to “do-over” any of those points in my life didn’t help.
That being said, it is a funny book and well-written. If you’re looking for some laughs or have ever dreamed of redoing your childhood, this may be right up your alley, and I just happen to have five to giveaway.
To enter, just leave me a comment below. For an extra entry, tell me about one time or event in your life you would like to do-over. Sharing, somehow, somewhere, will get you up to two extra entries, just make sure to let me know.
The deadline for entries is May 29, with the winners announced May 30. Since this giveaway is courtesy of Hachette Book Group, it is open to the US and Canada only, no PO Boxes.
* I just went back and edited this. Apparently I couldn’t actually spell earlier today. Sorry!
I’ve heard some great things about this book and would love the chance to read it!
Definitely sounds funny, but I don’t get the point of it, either! Maybe to sell books?
I’d love to go back to high school and never have had those boyfriends I did…
Neat concept for a book. Don’t enter me. Just posted on Win A Book.
I would “do over’ my wedding day. I was too hyped up and nervous to enjoy it!
You don’t need to enter my name in the contest; I just had two comments — the “million little pizzas” did make me laugh; and, yes, I would be creeped out if a 48-yr old man were enrolled as a student in one of my kids’ art/gymnastics/whatever classes. I wouldn’t go for it!
Please include my name in your giveaway. I would love to do over my first marriage. I guess most divorced people would re do there marriage.
I just went back and fixed all my errors in the post. Apparently I couldn’t spell earlier today. I don’t know whether to thank you guys for not mentioning it or ask you to please point it out next time.
There are many days I would do over, however the one I choose is the day I met my ex husband. I knew he was bad, and didn’t listen to myself. I will regret it for life. Now I am away from him, still doesn’t make a lick of difference for what happened. He will always be my one regret.
Thank you for the entry.
I also tweeted the contest, http://twitter.com/fredalicious
This looks really interesting! Please enter me!
This sounds hilarious! I run a daycare from my home so sometimes I feel like I’m doing over childhood everyday.
This sounds like it would be fun to read. I can already see the movie trailers playing for this…
Looks great, please enter me!
I would love the opportunity to read this book. Please enter me in the giveaway
“Canadian Contests, Freebies, Coupons, Deals, Games and Fun:
sounds so funny! would love to win!
Please enter me. I’d love a chance to read this. Thanks
This looks like a great book, I would love to read it!
I would do-over college — I would actually finish this time instead of messing things up and having to go back later and do it again!
would love to win
thanks for the chance to win!!
I would probably get rid of a couple of those loser boyfriends I had…hahaha
Great review, this sounds like a fun book. I would love to be entered.
I would do-over 1995- it was a bad year.
Looks like a fun read. If I got a do-over, it’d probably be high school!
I have had a most horrible day and I need a laugh. Please enter me.
madamerkf at aol dot com
Please count me in! email@example.com
I have heard what a wonderful book this is!! I would love to read it!!
Sounds like a really interesting read for summer. Thanks so much!
As for a do-over… I think I would have gone right into grad school, rather than taking a few years off. It would have helped my career immensely!
krtrumpet [at] aol [dot] com
WOW sounds like a cute book.
Thanks for the giveaway!
I’d love to read this book! Thanks
This sounds funny and interesting. Thank you for the opportunity.
Sounds like a great book. Thanks for the giveaway. Please enter me.
eswright18 at gmail dot com
I’d love to do-over my high school years. 🙂
Thanks for all the entries. I’ll announce the winners shortly.