Doing It by Melvin Burgess

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Doing It by Melvin Burgess

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Category: Teens
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: A funny and truthful peek into the minds of sex-obsessed teenage boys. And girls aren't left out, either. Parents might find it shocking but the kids will find it real. Melvin Burgess popped into Bookbag Towers to chat to us.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 336 Date: August 2014
Publisher: Andersen
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 1783440635

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Dino's girlfriend won't give him what he wants.

Jonathan worries what his mates will think of the girl he likes.

And Ben is having extra "lessons" from his sexy teacher.

First published in 2003, Doing It is the story of a group of teenagers discovering sex for the first time. It's explicit. It's unflinching. And it caused a stir at the time. With high teen pregnancy rates, is there such a thing as too much accuracy? Or are honest portrayals the best form of education? Reissued a decade later, we can have that conversation all over again through the prism of the three teenage boys this novel follows.

As a mother of teenage boys, Doing It was both a pleasure and a pain to read. I think I spent as much time laughing at/with myself as I did laughing at/with Dino, Jonathan and Ben. I'd consider myself a sensible parent but I'm not going to lie: I spent half the book thinking OH NOES! I'M GOING TO LOCK THEM UP! FOREVER! and the other half thinking YOU POOR THING, YOU JUST NEED SOMEONE TO TALK TO. HERE I AM! HERE I AM! But of course, neither are sensible-parent things to think. You can't lock up your kids. They learn by experience. You can't force them to talk to you. They have to come of their own accord.

But Melvin Burgess didn't write Doing It for me. He wrote it for my kids. So what I think doesn't matter anyway. Even so, I'll carry on telling you. From the dim and distant memories of my own salad days and from my observation of my sons and their friends and their girlfriends, I think Doing It has everything just perfect. Bravado and willy-waving from the boys. Girls who are a bit more in touch with the common sense warnings going on in their heads but whose hormones keep frustratingly winning the day. The clocking-up of experience that is both joyful and painful in equal measure.

It might well frighten a few of the parental horses but I think Doing It is fabulous. It's truthful, funny, even terrifying sometimes, but it has a heart the size of a planet. And to my mind, the truth is always the best thing.

Highly recommended. We also have a review of Burgess's The Cry of the Wolf.

You might also look at Losing It by Keith Gray - a collection of short stories about losing one's virginity. And we love Apples by Richard Milward, a vivid and poetic look at Britain's urban youth with its binge-drinking, drug-taking and seemingly ubiquitous teen pregnancy. You might also enjoy The Hit by Melvin Burgess.

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Buy Doing It by Melvin Burgess at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Doing It by Melvin Burgess at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Doing It by Melvin Burgess at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Doing It by Melvin Burgess at

Bookinterviews.jpg Melvin Burgess was kind enough to be interviewed by Bookbag.


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