Notice for Review Requests

I receive review requests weekly. However, my personal schedule is hectic and I no longer review actively. (I also manage another blog called The Toronto Cafe and Food Blog). I do read every request sent but I apologize in advance that I do not reply to them all.

If I do take on a request, I will forewarn that it may take some time before I can review it. I am now looking to review adult fiction and self-help books instead of young adult fiction because I have grown out of it. If you are to request a review for either adult fiction or self-help, I will more likely to give it a shot.

In the meantime, Stop, Drop, and Read! serves as an archive book review blog. When I have the time, I may post a review. Thank you for understanding.

Monday, August 16, 2010

E. Van Lowe: I'm smart!

E. Van Lowe, Author of Never Slow Dance with a Zombie

I'm Smart!

In the iconic film, The Godfather Part II, when Fredo Corleone is confronted by his kid brother, and mafia chief, Michael, for going out on his own, Fredo lashes out.

"I'm your older brother, Mike, and I was stepped over!"
"That's the way pop wanted it," Michael cooly replies.
"It ain't the way I wanted it!" Fredo decries. "I'm smart! Not like everybody says..."

Of course, everyone in the audience knew, Fredo was an idiot.

Back when I was in high school in the inner city, being smart was not a badge of honor--not if you wanted to be hip, and cool, and in. Back then, intelligence was a curse. Somehow my peers had rigged it that being smart was a sign of weakness. And because I was smart, and had dreams, but still wanted to be accepted, I became a Fredo.

In elementary school I was quick to raise my hand, happily answering all my teacher's questions. But by the time I was in the seventh grade, amidst taunts of "teacher's pet," and "brown nose," my hand steadily came down.

By the ninth grade, knowing many of the answers and just sitting there was getting old. So, I did something to keep myself entertained, and (hopefully) to step up my popularity--I became a wise-ass. Now, when my hand went up in class, you could feel the energy in the room shift. Small smiles and giddy looks appeared on the faces of my classmates as they wondered "what the heck is he going to say now."

When my geometry teachers was explaining a tangent, my hand shot up:
"Yes, Mr. Van Lowe?"
"What does a piece of fruit, shaped like an orange, have to do with geometry?" I asked, my voice indignant. Yes, I know it was juvenile (I was fourteen), but it got the desired effect. Laughter all around. Of course, it meant detention for me (since I'd been warned several times about my answers), but it was worth it. I was welcomed into the bad boys, the jocks, the hip kids. Everyone thought I was so funny.

The toughest part of this charade is that I still had to get good grades, or I was going to get killed at home. When my teachers handed back my test papers, I would look at them, and then crumple them into a ball. Sometimes I'd glance at my classmates with a twinkle in my eye and say: "I got a ten. I was shooting for a zero, but I got my name right." More laughter. Everyone assumed I was failing--which I wasn't.

There was a gorgeous girl in my history class named Beverly. Beverly was late for class every day, and she was so ditzy. I usually don't go for the dumb type, but when Beverly wore tight skirts to school, she got my fourteen year-old juices flowing. I wanted to hang out with her. But talking to Beverly was like talking to a brick. She was that dense. Still, I dreamed of Beverly being my girlfriend.

One day in class, my history teacher was in a particularly good mood. The class, as a whole, had done much better on his most recent exam than he'd expected.

"And, of course, our best student always gets an A," he said, stopping by Beverly's desk. A hush fell over the class as we all awaited the punch line. But there wasn't one. He handed Beverly her test paper and moved on to the next student. She sat silent, the look on her face saying it all--sheer and utter embarrassment.

Well I'll be. Beverly was a Fredo.

I was elated. This was my in. I could be smart around Beverly. We could be smart around each other. One day after serving detention, as I was leaving school, I saw her. The corridor was empty--just her and me. My heart began pounding in my chest.



"I'm a writer," I said. It was all I could think of to let her know I was a Fredo, too. She shot me her ditzy look. I wanted to say: "It's okay. I know you're smart. And I don't care."

After several moments of me babbling about something to keep her from walking away, she said: "I'm going to medical school." Our eyes met. Mine filled with hope that gorgeous Beverly was going to be my girlfriend; hers held a warning.

We hung out a few times after that, but she never allowed me to get too close. She worked extra hard to win her ditzy rep back in history. Then she graduated with honors, and went on to a good college. I don't know what became of Beverly, but I'm sure she did well for herself.

Isn't it amazing what peer pressure can do to a kid? High school is tough enough without having to pretend you are dumb. But that's what me and Beverly, and I'm sure many others did to survive. I hope things have changed.

By the way, what the heck is a tangent, anyway?

Yes, I know. I'm still trying to be funny. Old habits die hard.



Read my review of the hilarious zombie novel Never Slow Dance with a Zombie here.

Contest Time

Giveaway Item(s): A copy of Never Slow Dance with a Zombie
# of Winners: 1
Eligibility: US and Canada

Entries (Leave links if needed)

+1 New follower (MANDATORY)
+2 Old follower
+1 Link (5 max)
+1 Add Stop, Drop, and Read! to your blogroll

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Autumn said...

I was checking this book out the other day. Looks like a good read!

I'm an old follower

autumn. crocher @ gmail .com

Meredith said...

Sounds like an interesting read!

+2 old follower

meredithfl at gmail dot com

Monica said...

+2 Old Follower!

Looks like a good book!

Liviania said...

+2 Old follower
+1 Add Stop, Drop, and Read! to your blogroll

And it doesn't end. I had a girl tell me to stop talking so much in class because that was why people don't like honors students.

Mardel said...

I never felt like I had to "dumb" myself down - but then I was way too shy to be noticed anyway. Had other issues.

It should have been true love there, between you and Beverly...oh well, Se La Vi`. I'm sure you have your true love right now.

I've been searching the bookstores for Never Slow Dance with a Zombie and haven't been able to find it. I would love to read it.

+2 I'm an old Follower
+1 I Linked the contest on my sidebar
+1 Linked your blog on the other side (same link)

Good luck with the upcoming works!

throuthehaze said...

Sounds interesting!
+2 old follower
+1 blogroll:

throuthehaze at gmail dot com

Aik said...

I'd love to enter!

+2 Old follower
+1 Link on Twitter
+1 Link on Plurk
+1 Add Stop, Drop, and Read! to my blogroll

aikychien at yahoo dot com

Maddie M. said...

+2 Old follower
+1 Add Stop, Drop, and Read! to your blogroll

Audrey said...

Thanks for the giveaway!
+1 new follower

baddict17 said...

Ha! Great post! I've sadly never heard of this book until now.

+2 Old follower

xnzkisha17 at yahoo dot com

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, zombies sound like funnn...

+1 New Follower!

+1 Link

Thanks for the giveaway!


jecca said...

Great giveaway :)
+2 old follower

Brooke said...

Thanks so much for the giveaway! I'm a new follower (+1). texas_gal45(at)hotmail(dot)com

Carrie at In the Hammock Blog said...

i'd love to enter! this looks really cute and funny!!

+2 old follower

inthehammockblog at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

+1 - new follower

Tabathia said...

+1 new follower
tbarrettno1 at gmail dot com

MarionG said...

I'd love to read this book. Am a big Zombie fan.
I'm a new follower.
polo-puppy-fluffy at hotmail dot com