A love story with drama, betrayal and e-mail

by Colin Neenan

List price: $8.95

Pages: 160
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0974648118
Publisher: Brown Barn Books

     It mostly started with a school play. To be exact, with sixteen-year-old Jim O'Reilly trying out for a part in A Midsummer Night's Dream, falling in love with a would-be gossip columnist he's known since kindergarten, and conducting a torrid, though anonymous, love affair with her (by e-mail).
     How did he end up in a tree, his picture on the front page of newspapers all over the country?
     And how did Jim O'Reilly get to be a shy, handsome romantic hero to millions of American girls?
     IDIOT! is a new and funny novel by Colin Neenan, who also wrote In Your Dreams and Live A Little.

What Reviewers
are Saying About this Book

     Full of passion, regret, and humor, IDIOT! conveys the uncertainties of romance in the lives of youth and their parents. The framework of the story (that this is Jim's unsanitized account of what caused him to end up drunk in a tree, eating his own words-literally, his emails to Zanny-and have his picture plastered on the front of newspapers across the country) adds to its cleverness and the ambiguity of Jim and Zanny's relationship.  ...librarians who can sell the story inside will find a receptive audience with guys and girls alike.  -- Melissa Moore -- Jackson, TN
                                             -- National Council of Teachers of English, Winter 2005

His new love might be more interested in his twin brother, and his mom has just run away from home. But all this bad luck creates an amusing page-turner, with the reader dying to find out how Jim's life could possibly get any worse.
–YM Online Magazine

Refreshing, enjoyable, and highly recommended. …Engagingly written novel…For the modern age with unpredictable twists and turns... 
                                                                         –Midwest Book Review  October 2004

     The subtitle that appears on the inside cover of this book is “A love story with drama, betrayal, and e-mail.” The drama is literal and figurative. Main character Jim O’Reilly, alias Demetrius from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, falls in love with his childhood friend, Suzannah Ursula Manning, a.k.a. Zanny, who plays Demetrius’s love interest, Francis Flute. In real life, the drama unfolds as Jim, through his anonymous e-mail address, professes his love to Zanny, but Zanny thinks that it is Jim’s twin brother, Jake, who is sending her messages. Confused yet? Well, so is Jim, who thinks that Zanny is in love with Jake, causing a chain of events that find him in a compromising situation with Jake’s girlfriend, Janine. Enter Zanny again (ouch)!

     The plot becomes even more convoluted—and here comes the betrayal part—when Jim and Jake’s mother suddenly leaves home, leaving Jim angry and confused. After a misleading spy session that makes it appear as if Mom is having an affair with a strange, unnamed man, readers learn that Jim’s father is the one having the affair—with Jim’s English teacher no less, who always does the costumes and scenery for the plays. There are so many twists and turns in this madcap story that Shakespeare surely would be proud. If it seems clear that the boy probably get the girl in the end, do not be so sure. He does, but which girl is another story.” 
                                                           –Elaine J. O’Quinn, February 2005, VOYA

About the Author
     Colin Neenan grew up in New York City and has always lived in the East. He’s been a doorman, a chauffeur and a census worker, but now he’s a librarian in a high school.
     He’s been writing forever and hopes that after you finish this book you’ll read his two other books, In Your Dreams and Live a Little. His daughters claim he eats too much salsa and sings too loud; they also call themselves modern Cinderellas because he makes them empty the dishwasher. The three of them live in Connecticut.
Excerpt from IDIOT

“Stop, stop, stop, stop, STOP,” Mr. Fricker called, walking down the center aisle through the dark of the auditorium. “Look--.” He glanced down at his clipboard, then looked up at me. “Jim. Let me ask you. Have you ever been in love?”  

I was standing at the edge of the stage, Mr. Fricker down below. I could have easily swung my leg and kicked him in the face.  

“Have you ever been in love?”

I was nervous as hell, as it was, standing there center stage, under the only lights in the entire auditorium, saying these words I didn’t understand, having a hard time even reading them because my right hand holding the little book was shaking. Why was he doing this?  

Mr. Fricker looked back at his clipboard. “Have you ever been in love, Jim?” he asked, in his contemptuous hyper mode. He’d gone insane like this in class, too, whenever someone read a famous poem out loud and stumbled over words and completely butchered it. It was like Fricker took it personally.  

“Have you?” he asked, when I didn’t answer right away. “Have you ever been in love?”

What the hell was I supposed to say? No? Was I supposed to say no? Was it so obvious? The entire auditorium was completely quite. Fifty or so kids sitting out in the auditorium, all of them watching me hanging there in the wind. Jodi Woodrow. Lisa Kellerman. Bart Fulton. Exchanging looks, smiles. They loved Mr. Fricker. Loved how he could do this to people.

 “It’s a simple yes or no question,” he said, his hands bubbling up in the air like he was re-enacting a volcano. “Have you ever been in love? Have you ever connected to one person in a way that was completely different from how you felt about anyone else in the entire world?”  

I don’t know why, but my eyes suddenly glanced at Zanny, and my heart flopped like a fish in the bottom of a row boat.  

“Yes,” I whispered, looking away quickly.

“Yes,” Mr. Fricker asked, incredulous.

And I looked at him dead on, only realizing it that very second. “Yes.”

                                                      Download IDIOT! sell sheet