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Benjamin Franklin: Huge Pain in My...!

posted by: November 12, 2015 - 7:00am

http://catalog.bcpl.lib.md.us/polaris/search/searchresults.aspx?ctx=1.1033.0.0.6&type=Keyword&term=benjamin%20franklin%20huge%20pain&by=KW&sort=MP&limit=TOM=*&query=&page=0Sending people backward or forward through time has been done so many times that authors Adam Mansbach and Alan Zweibel decided on a fresh take with time traveling mail in Benjamin Franklin: Huge Pain in My...!

 

Franklin Isaac Saturday, preferably known as "Ike," is stuck in the social bubble known as middle school. Although his school life isn't super terrible — he's kissed two girls and he's usually picked somewhere in the middle for sports teams — it could definitely be better. Popularity seems to be the only thing the other students care about, and Ike feels that he is always grasping for it. His troubles also include his stepdad, his crush on Claire Wanzandae with her cherry blossom-and-gasoline-scented hair and that his first name is "Franklin" because his dad thought Benjamin Franklin was cool.

 

So when Ike's history teacher assigns the class an extra credit letter-writing assignment, he chooses to write to his namesake about all of his grievances. As a joke to make Claire laugh, Ike actually mails his letter. Imagine his disbelief when he receives a reply from Ben Franklin a few days later.

 

While initially skeptical, once Ike believes the correspondence is real, he seeks advice from Ben about his life and, in return and unasked, he feeds the Founding Father tidbits about America's history and present. It's one thing for Ike to share his problems with Ben and quite another thing when Ike shares evidence with him that could affect the course of American history.

 

Don't be fooled! Benjamin Franklin: Huge Pain in My...! is a teen book in middle grade packaging which is in line with Mansbach's previous books (New York Times bestsellers Go the F**k to Sleep and You Have to F**king Eat). That said, Mansbach and Zweibel created a funny story centered around the idea of mail that can travel through time. Judging from the climatic ending, there may be a sequel in the future.

 

Fans of Andy Gavin's Untimed, another teen time-traveling novel featuring Ben Franklin and disguised as middle grade fiction, will enjoy this book as well.


 
 

Revised: November 12, 2015