Release Date: January 31st 2012
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Buy It: Book Depository
Live vicariously through Jay as he faces off against his mortal enemy, gets awkward around his dream girl(s), loses his marbles in a Bermudian love triangle, watches his parents' relationship implode, and, finally, learns to get real and be himself(ish).First, I have to get this out of the way. It's completely unrelated to the quality of the book, but I find it really strange when authors use their own name as the name of a character, especially since in this case the name "Jay" even appears in the title. It honestly makes me wonder if the character is based a little on him.
Now about The Edumacation of Jay Baker– simply put, it's hilarious. Sure, some of the references felt a little dated to me, I mean, I'm in my early twenties and I'm not even old enough to have watched Dawson's Creek or Full House, and some of the story was slightly outrageous (though I'm fairly certain that was the point) but overall Clark had me laughing and just, enjoying, the book, which was really refreshing in the midst of so many serious novels.
The tagline on the cover really gets it right when it says "you'll feel awkward by association", because there were definitely point in Jay Baker when I found myself cringing on Jay's behalf. It is really the humour that makes this book, but there were times when it came across as the kind of thing that work better as stand-up comedy than an entire novel, because it sometimes gets bogged down in funny remarks or references. Also, because the plot itself is not that interesting, and two importants aspects Jay's love interests and his parents, and neither of which really had the dimension I wanted.
Then again, his teacher Ms. Lambert definitely had me chuckling.
Ultimately, The Edumacation of Jay Baker isn't perfect, but it is hilarious, and sometimes, that's just what you're looking for.