Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to Not Reading by Tommy Greenwald starts out as just that–a guide or self-help book on how middle school students can avoid reading. Narrative passages are intermingled with handwritten notes on lined paper, comic-style illustrations, and lists of tips. At first glance the book appears to be another Diary of a Wimpy Kid-style book. True, there is some common DNA there: under-achieving middle school student in typical middle school setting punctuated with pictures. However, there are some divergences, too. There is a lot more prose and the quality of writing is definitely up a notch. Also, this is a book about middle-schoolers that actually feels like it is targeting middle school readers rather than elementary school readers. The main character, Charlie Joe, doesn’t feel like a juvenile delinquent. He likes his family (how refreshing) and is surrounded by friends that are somewhat diverse and substantial, compared to the typical characters in this genre/style. Named for his sons–Charlie, Joe, and Jack–author Tommy Greenwald wrote this book for kids who don’t like to read and I enjoyed some of his humor on the subject.
Profanity/Language: 5 religious exclamations; 3 mild obscenities.
Violence/Gore: Verbal threat; description of the Beatles Dead Baby Album Cover.
Sex/Nudity: Flirting; girls called “hot”; character kisses another character; a passing observation by a character suggesting they drop the “Sex Education” class; characters like other characters; student observes that a teacher is nice-looking.
Mature Subject Matter:
Alcohol / Drug Use: