Book Review, Comedy, YA Fiction

Spanking Shakespeare by Jake Wizner

I started my book review blog in 2009 and I have read so many outstanding books that I wanted to share them again with my followers on #SegueSaturday.  I first posted this review in August 2009.  The review is short, but the book is unforgettably funny.  I bet you knew a Shakespeare Shapiro in high school. Enjoy!


I am in Mr. Parke’s morning class along with the typical assortment of dumb jocks, pseudo-intellectuals, burnouts, computer geeks, freaks of nature, girls who don’t know I exist, and girls who know I exist but would never go out with me. A random sampling of my classmates might include Sylvester Valentine, who caused a stir by cross-dressing for an entire week last year; Rocco Mackey, who laughs every time Mr. Parke mentions periods or colons; and Dixie Crawford, who helps boys like Rocco Mackey reproduce.

I don’t usually read books more than once, but this book is an exception. It is a laugh-out-loud look at Shakespeare Shapiro’s senior writing assignment which chronicles every embarrassing and hilarious moment of his life.

Mr. Wizner has done a great job of capturing the teenage mind and making the characters relatable and memorable.

A fantastic young adult fiction novel written by an 8th-grade teacher. Give it a shot, I promise you will laugh. I highly recommend this enjoyable book!


Spanking Shakespeare

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Jake WiznerI was supposed to be born on Hitler’a birthday. To my mother’s great relief, I arrived late and was born on Freud’s birthday instead. My parents wanted to name me Max, but my grandfather, a Holocaust refugee, strenuously objected, saying the name sounded too German. My original birth certificate read Baby Boy Wizner.

My mother was a college dean, and I spent the first ten years of my life living in a dormitory. I ate meals in the college dining hall, explored the campus tunnels, and became a foosball prodigy, sharpening my skills against opponents more than twice my age. Occasionally, I would sleepwalk around the dormitory at night, and be picked up by drunk students returning from parties in the early morning hours.

I went to Wesleyan University, and it was in one of my English classes that I made my first serious attempt at writing fiction. I was immensely proud of the piece I had submitted and remember smiling confidently at the student next to me as our professor returned our work. He got an A. I got a B-. After college, he dubbed himself Lemony Snicket and became the second most famous children’s book author in the world. I moved to New Orleans to teach public school, dubbed myself the Phantom Bard, and chronicled my experiences in the local Teach for America newsletter.

Since 1996, I have been an eighth-grade teacher at a public middle school in New York City. I live in Manhattan with my wife and children.

Jake Wizner can be reached on Facebook, Twitter and on his website.