Fri 23 Sep 2011
Glee’s resident bad boy, Noah Puckerman, doesn’t have to work on his image.
He’s already got it down. Witness his mohawk haircut, his wardrobe of jeans, boots and T-shirts, and his awesome guitar. Then, there’s the street cred he obtained by a stint in juvie and his history of romantic liaisons with many of the girls at William McKinley High School — and possibly even some of their mothers.
So at first glance, Puck doesn’t seem to have much in common with Ari Samuel Abramson, the main character in So Punk Rock (And Other Ways to Disappoint Your Mother) written by Micol Ostow and published by Flux in 2009.
Puck is cool and plays music. Ari plays music because he desperately wants to be cool. But, if I were a librarian at McKinley High, I’d still give Mr. Puckerman, who’s portrayed by Mark Salling, a copy of this book and encourage him to read it.
Why? Let me count the ways:
1. It would get Puck in the library. I know from previous episodes that Puck is not a regular library user. When he was in the library with Lauren Zizes last season, he looked around in awe and asked, “What IS this place?” My job would be to help him realize libraries serve as more than a place to pick up girls.
2. It wouldn’t intimidate him. My guess is that Puck is not a voracious reader. So giving him a big, heavy or otherwise off-putting book wouldn’t work. This book doesn’t look overwhelming. It’s got a cool cover and parts of the story are told in comics and illustrations (done by David Ostow), which give it a graphic novel feel. I think it might suck Puck in and compel him to keep turning pages. I’d make sure to give Puck the paperback version, because it would be easier to him to carry around. (And because, frankly, the library would be out less money if he never returned it.)
3. It covers topics that relate to Puck’s life. Ari is Jewish and attends Leo R. Gittleman Jewish Day School. His family is very focused on Ari’s achieving good enough grades and SAT scores so he can attend Brandeis University and become a doctor or a lawyer. Ari is pretty sure he doesn’t want to attend Brandeis, although he isn’t really sure what he wants to do instead. What he does know is he wants to impress Sari Horowitz and thinks forming a band is the best way to do this. Of course, it has to be a secret band. Ari’s parents aren’t too excited about things that don’t show up on standardized tests. How does this relate to Puck? He’s Jewish and has said he thinks Jewish girls are hot. And, he plays guitar like Ari.
4. It would remind Puck of his strengths. And show where he could improve. I think Puck would laugh at the trials Ari’s fledgling band, The Tribe, goes through. There’s Ari’s best friend, the cool and popular Jonas, who attracts fans but has little musical talent. There’s geeky, ultra-conservative drummer Yossi Gluck who’s chosen merely because he owns drums. And, there’s Yossi’s younger sister, Reena, who isn’t supposed to be part of the band at all but who can, surprisingly, sing. I’m sure Puck would feel he could create a better band in five minutes. But if he paid attention, he’d also notice that being “cool” doesn’t solve all of Ari’s problems and actually creates some new ones for him.
I’d especially encourage Puck to read the scene on page 237 where Ari’s parent’s find out about the band the night after Ari finds out Jonas and Sari aren’t who he always thought they were — and neither is Yossi Gluck. Which leads Ari to ponder the inevitable question, “Who is he?”
The answer just might be that Ari’s an idiot. But once Ari realizes that, he also realizes that he can make choices to fix that. Is Puck an idiot? Sometimes. Could he benefit from some self-reflection? Probably. Might an innocent book get him started thinking?
A good librarian would argue that it could.
And all for only $9.95.
Here’s the list of books I’ve recommended to Glee characters so far:
• Noah Puckerman - So Punk Rock (And Other Ways to Disappoint Your Mother) by Micol Ostow.
• Brittany Pierce – Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John.
• Mercedes Jones – Dramarama by E. Lockhart.
• Tina Cohen-Chang – My Not-So-Still Life by Liz Gallagher.
• Santana Lopez – Sister Mischief by Laura Goode.
• Blaine Anderson – Pitch Perfect by Mickey Rapkin.
• Finn Hudson – Struts & Frets by Jon Skovron.
• Sam Evans – Guitar Boy by MJ Auch.
• Quinn Fabray – Beauty Queens by Libba Bray.
• David Karofsky – Dairy Queen and The Off Season both by Catherine Gilbert Murdock.
• Rachel Berry – Theater Geek by Mickey Rapkin.
• Kurt Hummel – Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan.