Wednesday, September 23, 2015

A Lighthearted New Review: Homeschool Sex Machine (Babes, Bible Quiz and the Clinton Years)
I can't even remember how I came across this little gem, but I identified quite a bit with it.  The previous two reviews here were of a heavy nature, and I thought I'd highlight one that was humorous.  I'm glad that Matthew Pierce wrote his book, if only to provide a little bit of levity and brevity to the genre of books about the religious or high demand group experiences of teens.

I was not homeschooled, and when I was the age of the author, we were just entering the Reagan years. I never coped well with socialization in public school, and after a trauma that my parents didn't even know about, I could barely stand middle school with my peers in budding puberty while "Love Boat" glamorized the one night stand.  Christian school seemed like a nice alternative.

The author describes what many of my homeschooling mom friends do now, especially if they have kids that are interested in sports or hit subjects that they can't teach well themselves at home:  They enroll their kids in a Christian school part-time for those kinds of benefits.  So I thoroughly enjoyed those familiar aspects of Homeschool Sex Machine.

The book reads very well and quickly, exploring the drama of a teenager and the socialization that goes along with it — at least as I remember it for myself.   Like Zack Bonnie's book, it gives a little glimpse into the mind of a teenage boy — a world that I understand a bit better before having read both books.  I now have a standard of comparison to add to Salinger, too.  ;)

I don't want to ruin all the fun, but as kids often do, at my school we did have some people with silly names.  That came back to my mind as I read.  I laughed, too and won't give the joke away.  Instead, I'll tell you about just one of the silly named guy I remember from that era.  Young singles used to come in to our school to volunteer, and we had a fellow named "Cliff Suave" who would show up from time to time.  What a riot.  There was a rumor that he changed his surname because he was born a "Jumper."  I still don't know if it's true or not, but I recalled the hysterical laughter about it — even if it wasn't true.  "Suave" didn't fit him, but "Jumper" did, and it was funnier.  :)  The modest price of the book was worth the reference to Mr. _____.  You'll have to read the book to learn more.

The culture and the Christianese reminded me of an illustration about our habits that I learned long after I left Christian school.  A woman bakes a ham and because her mother always cut the end off of the ham before she put it into the oven, her grown daughter did the same thing.  That was her experience about how to make a ham.  When questioned about it as an adult, the daughter couldn't answer why it was important to cut the ham in that way.  When she asks her mother why she "taught" her to prepare baked ham by cutting off the end, the mother responds by saying, "I did that because the ham didn't fit into my roaster, so I had to cut it off."  Pierce's book set me thinking about why my own culture and his similar culture did some of the similar things that he describes — all with a flare of sarcasm which I loved.

The sex machine element is innocent (by most secular and many Christian standards), but it ends with a co-ed mud bath which also reminded me of the muddy, swampy terrain that surrounded my own alma mater.

It was a delightful little read, and I highly recommend it for those who might wish to revisit their childhood memories of being homeschooled or of attending a Christian school.

 I've paid much more money to see comedy films that were not a tenth as funny Matthew Pierce in Homeschool Sex Machine was for me!  It's only $2.99 on Kindle.  I hope that you take time to enjoy it.