Review of Frank Portman’s “King Dork”

Rating: 4/5

For my summer reading assignment, rather than reading a deep, insightful book on world issues, I opted to read a more light and mindless book named King Dork by Frank Portman.

From the moment I skimmed the book list, I knew this was the book I was going to read. I looked it up and saw great things about the book, and so I dove into reading this book ready to be mesmerized.

I surfaced to the top after a good couple days, unsatisfied. The book has many startling problems – the portrayal of women and references to music of the late 20th century being the two biggest.

I feel that I was the perfect audience member for this book – which is the only reason why I gave this book four stars as opposed to two or three.

I am the same age as the narrator  (he is a high school sophomore), I listen to classic rock music almost exclusively (his inspirations are primarily The Who and The Sweets), I play guitar (he does too), and so on. My being able to relate to the narrator made this an enjoyable read for me.

However, many other readers may be offended or baffled by this book. Women will be offended by how they are portrayed, but I cannot go too into detail for spoiler reasons. Teenagers who are not into rock music of the 60s to 80s (which is a huge portion of the entire teenage population) will be confused by the music references.

The book is not all that bad though. There are some touching themes throughout the book; I consider the main one to be the developing relationship between the son and his stepfather. Development of social skills of an outcast is also a notable theme.

The readability of the book will completely depend on the age and gender of the reader. I myself enjoyed reading it, and recommend it to male teenagers primarily. Many females, I imagine, will throw away the book 50 pages in.


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