This book is hilarious, brilliant, all sorts of positive adjectives. I only wish I’d read it sooner! Basically, it is an unfolding chain of events set off by Dennis Cooverman’s valedictorian speech. Even that first part is hilarious, in Larry Doyle‘s description of the hotter-than-hell gym and its occupants who mostly just can’t wait to get out of there. Most of the book is just as hysterical and witty and clever (though there are some times when its genius falters as we get more towards the end) and, well, I just can’t sing comic genius and master writer Larry Doyle’s praises enough, so let’s get on with the story.

In his speech, Dennis declares his love for gorgeous, popular Beth Cooper. Dennis is such a geek that he’s not even on Beth’s radar, let alone in her league, so just let the ridiculousness of this sink in. Dennis continues to make pointed comments about the rest of the student body until the principal stops him. After graduation, Beth actually speaks to Dennis, shockingly enough, and her beefy boyfriend threatens him. In a strange twist of events, Beth and her two friends actually make an appearance at Dennis’s graduation “party,” whose only other guest is his best friend. From there, the night just gets crazier and crazier and more and more hilarious.

Dennis’s escapades are laugh-out-loud hilarious, and this book is just pure fun. None of the plot is particularly original, but this is a smart, very readable comedy, something that’s hard to come by. A lot of “comedy,” be it on a television or movie screen or in a book, is just stupid, honestly, and I Love You, Beth Cooper is so much better than that. Well, okay, it does have its stupid moments, but on the whole I found it rather clever. It’s not necessarily great literature, and I think you do have to be in the right mood for this one, but Larry Doyle is a very sharp writer. This is a book not to be read in public, unless you like having people stare at you as you break out in hysterical laughter.