Posted first to Blog Critics as Book Review: 'Benjamin Franklin, Huge Pain in my ...' by Adam Mansbach and Alan Zweibel.
Ike (as he is known) has a crush on his lab partner, but she doesn’t even see him. He has an opportunity to pick up extra credits by writing a letter to a Famous Historical Person. He picks Benjamin Franklin because of the name they share. He steals an old stamp from his stepfather’s collection just to add some authenticity. Then to make Claire (his lab partner) laugh, he mails it.
It is when Ben Franklin writes back that his life turns around and he begins a strange long distant friendship. How is it possible to communicate with such a heroic figure from the past; Ike isn’t sure but it has brought him closer to his crush.
To top it all off, Ben Franklin seems to have some of the same type of problems, so Ike finds himself continuing to write. Unaware of the ramifications of changing the past, he shares information that could change the entire course of history. Can he repair the possible damage he has begun?
This is a zany, funny look at time travel of sorts, as it relates to communication. You will find yourself entranced in the antics of Ike as he seeks advice from his historical mentor, and even tries to mail himself so he can actually meet him. The characterizations of both Ike and Claire keep the fun going with their silliness, but at the same time you are introduced to bits of real history that is fascinating.
If you have a young adult who loves to read and you can’t find just the right work, you will find this to be both fun and interesting for them. While written for the younger crowd it is also a tickling funny read for those who love books and especially the young at heart. You will be intrigued by the ideas and snatches of history included.
This would be a great book for a school book club or reading group. The fun is only part of its charm.