The Barftastic Life of Louie Burger

Jenny Meyerhoff, illus. by Jason Week. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $13.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-374-30518-5
Louie dreams of doing standup comedy, and he gives it his all when he’s alone on the stage he and his father built in his oversize bedroom closet. But he’s also upfront about his fear of performing: “What’s the deal with stage fright?” he asks, Seinfeld-style. “It’s not like the stage is going to bite me or give me a wedgie. It would make more sense to have audience fright. Actually, I have that, too.” In addition to the fifth-grader’s anxiety about participating in the school talent show, Louie feels abandoned both by his best friend and by his recently unemployed father, who becomes depressed when his artistic aspirations don’t pan out. Though “barf” is a cornerstone of Louie’s vocabulary (sports are “barfgusting,” Fluffer-nutters are “barfmazing”), Meyerhoff (Sami’s Sleepaway Summer) deals with peer relationships, family cohesiveness, and finding the courage to follow one’s dreams—amid the rampant bodily humor. Week’s energetic comics-style cartoons ramp up the story’s slapstick comedy, whether demonstrating Louie’s “Barf Brothers” secret handshake or his major faceplant during gym glass. Ages 8–12. Author’s agent: Jennifer Mattson, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/06/2013
Release date: 06/04/2013
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Ebook - 240 pages - 978-0-374-30519-2
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