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Summer Read: I Love You, Beth Cooper

Beth Cooper
Larry Doyle's novel
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“The book was so much better.” How often have we heard/said that phrase when a novel turns into a Hollywood production? Maybe they got the casting wrong. (Hello, Tom Hanks as Professor Robert Langdon in The Da Vinci Code?) Or maybe they couldn’t fit all the details into the movie (like how the Weasley family plays a much larger role in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books).

Larry Doyle’s 2007 novel I Love You, Beth Cooper is getting a bit of play right now because of the just-released Chris Columbus movie with Heroes hottie Hayden Panettiere attached. In the film, she plays head cheerleader Beth Cooper and object of affection for valedictorian-debate captain Denis Cooverman. And while the movie is getting “mixed” reviews (11% on Rotten Tomatoes right now!), we’re probably going to skip the movie for different reasons. Reading Doyle’s book brought us back to high school--for better or worse--and we’ve already cast our own roles. Who didn’t know a dorky guy in love with someone outside of his caste system? Who needs Hollywood to help us fill in the blanks?The novel gives readers a glimpse into Denis Cooverman’s life, focusing on the 24 hours following graduation. In his valedictory speech, Denis not only declares his years of loving Beth Cooper “from behind,” but he also calls out those struggling with their sexuality (talking to his ambiguously maybe gay best friend Rich) and other classmates suffering from anger management problems, eating disorders and other issues. Oh, if graduation speeches could really be that memorable!